Turkey-Syria earthquake may have caused the death of whales in Cyprus
Cyprus Department of Fisheries and Marine Research/PIO/Reuters
Could the earthquake that hit southeast Turkey and northwest Syria have caused the death of Cuvier's beaked whales in the Mediterranean Sea? As far as we saw in Cyprus last week, it is pretty probable.
As Euronews reported, several dead whales washed up in Argaka, Paphos, located in the northwestern part of Cyprus, on Thursday.
Six other whales were discovered dead on Friday between Pachyammos and Polis. As experts suggested, whales primarily communicate and survey their surroundings through underwater sound.
"These animals have an echolocation system which is affected by sea noise," Yiannis loannou of the Fisheries and Marine Research Department told Sigma TV in Cyprus. "It could be military exercises, seismic drills, or naturally the earthquake in the region."
The fisheries research team took autopsy samples from the remains to determine what exactly caused the whales' death.
Seismic waves endanger marine life
Nearly a year ago, two Cuvier's beaked whales were discovered stranded near the beaches of Arillas and Agios Gordios on the island's west. The following day, a third beaked whale came ashore on the beach at Agios Gordios, per the Guardian.
According to research, seismic testing can have various detrimental effects on marine species, such as impaired hearing, eating, and communication problems. Studies have discovered connections between seismic testing and decompression sickness in beaked whales, which are deep divers.
As reported by the Guardian, more than 250 dB can be generated by a seismic blast.
Environmental organizations believed that the beachings were related to the SW Cook, a vessel chartered by Hellenic Petroleum that conducted experiments in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Corfu.