RE: Range of Blue Whale Sounds

From: Hensley, David C (
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 08:42:28 EST

Thank you! I really appreciate your help.


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Howard Garrett []
        Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2001 12:21 AM
        To: Hensley, David C
        Subject: Range of Blue Whale Sounds

>Could you please help me found out what the approximate range limit of
>Blue Whale vocalizations is?
>I've done some research on the SOFAR channel and the theoretical
>calculations by Payne & Webb (thanks to your site!) but so far I haven't
>been able to put practical limits on their range.
>Thanks so much!
>David Hensley
>PS: This is for a display plaque at a children's museum.

        I've looked at all the usual sources for blue whale acoustic info and
        couldn't find any definitive statement that told the upper limits of the
        range of blue whale communications. I have heard that blue whale calls,
        being the loudest sounds made by any animal, can carry for over 1,000 miles
        using the SOFAR channels, in fact from Bermuda to the UK.

        Your best source for information on the range of blue whale vocalizations
        would be Dr. Christopher Clark of Cornell Univ. I wasn't able to find a
        direct email address for him, but the following should help you contact him.

        Christopher Clark
        Bioacoustics Research Program
        Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
        Cornell University
        Ithaca, NY
        1-800-843-BIRD (1-800-843-2473)

        Other studies that might help would be:

        Stafford, K.M., Fox, C.G., Clark, D.S. (1998). Long-range
        acoustic detection and localization of blue whale
        calls in the northeast Pacific Ocean. J. Acoust. Soc.
        Am. 104(6):3616-3625

        Cummings, W.C., Thompson, P.O. (1971). Underwater
        sounds from the blue whale. J. Acoust. Soc. Am.

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