Can whales predict a tsunami?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2012, 12:00am


Do whales hear earthquakes long before humans do? A few years ago, when an underwater earthquake happened between Indonesia and Sri Lanka, some people at sea noticed that every whale and dolphin quickly disappeared.

Andrew Sutton, a British photographer and filmmaker, was watching whales at sea with his crew when the quake happened. He says that the whales they were watching suddenly vanished in a few minutes. The humans on the boat didn't know that the quake had happened, but the animals had obviously felt it, and they fled.

Could whales and dolphins act as early warning of underwater earthquakes? In 2011, before the Japan and New Zealand earthquakes occurred, many whales and dolphins got stuck on beaches in the two countries. And a recent scientific report from Mexico showed that a fin whale made a fast escape from the site of an underwater earthquake.