What is it about?

This article presents detailed measurements of underwater sound waves generated by marine pile driving at a deep water (400 m) oil platform, located in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Santa Barbara Channel is habitat for a diverse assortment of marine mammals, including many species of sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, and baleen whales, that could be negatively impacted by exposure to high-intensity sounds. The acoustic measurements reported in this paper were therefore carried out in order to establish how high the sound levels from the pile driving actually were. Furthermore, an advanced, eight-channel hydrophone array was used to isolate the different waves generated by the pile driving in order to better understand the structural vibrations involved in generating the sound.

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Why is it important?

Protecting marine mammals from potential harm from manmade noise (such as pile driving) requires that we understand the mechanisms that generate these sounds. These measurements were the first of their kind to have been carried out in deep water, and contribute to our better understanding of noise from industrial activity. The findings of this study can be used to develop mitigation measures for protecting mammals from inadvertant harm from similar offshore construction activities, in future.

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This page is a summary of: Underwater noise from pile driving of conductor casing at a deep-water oil platform, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, January 2018, Acoustical Society of America (ASA), DOI: 10.1121/1.5021554.
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