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In One Ear: Who goes there?

Sounds from the deep mystify scientists

Published on January 6, 2017 12:01AM


Marine biology fans take note: Scientists from Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center are hearing what they call “crazy” calls from the depths of the Mariana Trench, according to a story on NewAtlas.com (http://tinyurl.com/trench-call). The trench, which is in the western Pacific Ocean, is one of the deepest ocean areas known to man. To give you some idea of how deep, according to Geology.com (http://tinyurl.com/deepest6), a 2009 an unmanned robotic vehicle reached a depth of 35,814 feet (about 6.8 miles).

OSU scientists have named this eerie new sound, recorded by research instruments at a depth of 3,281 feet, the “Western Pacific Biotwang.” You can hear it here: http://tinyurl.com/osutwang

Scientists think the calls are from minke whales, but they’re baffled that the sounds occur year-round. Is it a new type of whale song? Could well be, even though new song discoveries are rare.

“It really is an amazing, weird sound,” Sharon Nieukirk, lead author of the study, noted, “and good science will explain it.”

— Elleda Wilson



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