Would Seismic Airgun Testing Sacrifice the Fishing Industry for Oil Exploration? [Infographic]

Several years ago, geologists and environmentalists went head-to-head over the use of seismic airgun testing as a means for earthquake prediction. The enviros claimed that the technology was harmful to dolphin and whale populations, while geologists argued back that the use of airguns was preferable to other testing methods… and definitely a better option than suffering through an earthquake completely unprepared.

That argument seems like one worth having: we need to work to find a way to protect marine species and gather information that could protect human communities from disaster. But what if those airguns weren’t being used for safety issues, but for oil and gas exploration? And what if the marine life potentially harmed wasn’t just whales and dolphins, but also commercially valuable fish species? That strikes me as a much more lopsided argument, with the opponents of seismic airgun testing having the upper hand.

Judge for yourself, though: Oceana published the infographic below to illustrate the big picture surrounding this form of geological testing (and has also taken a look at some of the potential impacts). Let us know what you think – what kinds of sacrifices are we prepared to make to expand oil and gas drilling?

Click on the image to get a larger version of it.

oceana seismic airgun testing infographic


  1. Joey Racano

    But what would seismic testing do besides kill whales? It certainly doesn’t make the nuke plant any safer or increase public safety in any way. Spend the money upgrading the plant, or decommissioning the plant and figuring out what to do with tons of plutonium that will be dangerous in the year 1002012.

    On facebook: Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing

  2. Amanda

    I see it says “use’ so they must still be using it.You think that’s why whales are beaching theirselves in the thousands?

  3. Rechkabo Kakuhoningen

    Accurately predict the strength, time, and the epicenter of the earthquake humanity can since 1995, since the first online social networks. The problem is not technology, the problem is in the minds of scientists. It is only necessary to make a social network that will collect information on the behavior of animals, fish and birds.

  4. Colby Reece

    I am a Geologist in oil & gas and you need to know your graphic is insultingly inaccurate. There is zero correlation between seismic data and oil reserve location. Please do your due diligence and stop publishing “what if”drivel that I have to defend against, because the general public is turning to sources like you for important information.

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