Whales will strand near Ft Peirce Florida in the first week of January 2009

Three earthquakes rattled the deep seafloor along the Mid Atlantic Ridge 1,000 miles due east of Barbados. This area is rich in hydrothermal plumes and much of water temperature along the ridge axis in 6 to 7° C or greater. There are also several seamounts nearby making this area an ideal feeding grounds for squid, the favorite food of deep diving whales. Squid spend the daylight hours near the bottom of the ocean. They disperse upwards at night. All three events below occurred at a time when squid would be within 600 meters of the surface. These facts combine to increase the odds that toothed whales might be feeding above these volcanic mountains when the earthquakes occurred.

First Event: Magnitude 5.8
Sunday, December 07, 2008 at 03:23:10 AM at epicenter
Location 13.317°N, 44.891°W Depth 10 km
Source USGS NEIC Event ID us2008ahar

Second Event: Magnitude 4.9
Sunday, December 07, 2008 at 03:48:58 AM at epicenter
Location 13.429°N, 44.803°W Depth 10 km
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)Event ID us2008ahas

Third Event: Magnitude 5.6
Sunday, December 07, 2008 at 10:51:01 PM at epicenter
Location 13.424°N, 44.814°W Depth 10 km
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D) Event ID us2008ahcr

These events may have been explosive in nature due to the strong possibility that there is a magma chamber located in the area. If so, the seabed would have been disturbed vertically in a fashion to generate rapid changes in hydrostatic pressures. Excessive changes in ambient pressure would cause barotraumatic injury in the head sinuses of any pod of deep diving whales. I estimate a 10% chance that a pod of whales (pilot, sperm, or beaked) were diving within the danger zone. If so, barotraumatic injury forced the injured pod to return to the surface and prevented them from diving or using their acoustic navigational abilities. Without a sense of direction, water resistance would turn the lost pod in a downstream direction where they would swim along with the flow covering about 100 miles per day.

If they are not injured too severely and can survive the constant harassment by hungry sharks, they stand a chance of beaching somewhere near Ft. Pierce, Florida the first week of the new year. I also give the pod a 50/50 chance that they might recover from their injuries before hitting the beach.

I place the odds at about 1 in 15 that there will be a stranding near Ft. Pierce, Florida from these three earthquakes.

The epicenters are located near the X at the bottom right of the chart below. The current from the epicenters generally flows with the arrows as marked.

Chart of surface current:


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