Airguns
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Air guns as heard under water

Listening stations on the seabed all over the world are streaming sound in real time to websites that anyone can access, allowing people to hear everything from male humpback whales singing off Hawaii, to last year's Japanese earthquake.

Conscious of security, the US Navy has brokered a deal with scientists in the north Pacific which allows the navy to delete any sounds of US or Canadian military shipping before the audio is sent out across the internet.

It now wants to do similar deals with other scientists around the world, but some experts say that is both improbable, and in this new age of internet accessibility, unreasonable.

This is a man-made sound - "air guns" which are used under the water to prospect for oil and gas.

The sound travels "vertically" downwards, and then into and below the sea-bed. The echo indicates the presence of oil or gas.

The recording was made in the Mediterranean.

  • 13 Jan 2012
  • From the section World