Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Controversy over beached whales affects operation of seismic research cruise



The finding of two beached beaked whales on 24 September in Mexico's Gulf of California has raised concerns among some scientists about a possible link to the research being undertaken by a U.S. science vessel, and has prompted changes in that ship's operating procedures. The whales subsequently died.

At the time of the strandings on Isla San Jose in the gulf, the R/V Maurice Ewing was conducting seismic research with an airgun array in the general vicinity as part of a 17 September–4 November seismic and geological study of gulf rifting and magmatism. The $1.6-million project is part of the MARGINS research program, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.