Whales off California coast were 'going nuts' after 4.7-magnitude earthquake struck along San Andreas fault
Passengers and crew on the Blue Ocean Whale Watch's 'High Spirits' watched in awe as several whales broke the surface simultaneously after the quake
Whales off the coast of California reportedly "went nuts" after a 4.7-magnitude earthquake hit the state, seemingly sparking a mass breaching event were several of them broke the surface of the water simultaneously.
The earthquake, which happened this past Tuesday, October 15, near Hollister struck at the "creeping section of the San Andreas fault," which historically experiences many quakes of a similar magnitude, according to seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones. And while it's too light for its impact to be felt by humans, the whales in and around the area reacted to it, as per Blue Ocean Whale Watch, which had a watch boat named 'High Spirits' stationed in the area at the time.
In a Facebook post, the organization said tour guides and passengers could do nothing but watch in awe when they noticed three humpback whales breaching at the time.
"Two distant pairs were double breaching and a single whale breached as well. Then suddenly the whales [we] were watching double-breached," they wrote. "We later found out this all happened at the same time as a 4.8 earthquake, whose epicenter was only 35 miles away, generated sound underwater in Monterey Bay. This obviously could have been a coincidence, but the timing was uncanny! Whales have excellent hearing and their surface activity could have been in response to the earthquake."
It's a sentiment that was shared by Katlyn Taylor, a naturalist who was also on board at the time. "The way it all went down on the water really seemed like a reaction from the underwater noise in the canyon," she told USA Today. "As soon as we said on the radio that the whales were going nuts in every direction, another captain said they had received an earthquake notice."
Kate Cummings, captain of the High Spirits, revealed that they saw a total of seven whales within four miles of their boat breaching "like crazy."
"I’m usually very skeptical of these sorts of things and lean toward it being a coincidence, but something that pushes me back the other way is the fact that the whales haven’t been very surface active in general this year," she said.