Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We Left Silence

An ocean full of loud, mesmerizing sounds made from whales?

It fires the imagination, and it appears to have been the natural order of things for a long time until guess who found out whale oil made good flame.

Researchers dug back through records of Russian whalers (not the records they showed the taxman but the real records of how many whales they caught) to create a picture of whale abundance and undersea decibels.

In the 19th century North Atlantic, it would have been as loud as 126 decibels, enough to make Led Zeppelin proud, according to the LA Times.

What that means is that there were so many whales they filled the deep blue with lively sound.

When we hauled the last whale (almost the very last) out of the ocean, what was left?  Silence. 

Maybe too, the singular echo of a lone whale fading into the emptiness of extinction.

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