Earthquake: Coincidence or
a Corporate Oil Tragedy?
By Andrew Limburg

December 28, 2004 — Independent Media TV

Now I don't claim to be an expert on seismic activity, but there has been a series of events which led up to the 9.0 earthquake of the coast of Indonesia which can not be ignored. This all could be an enormous coincidence, but one must look at the information and choose for themselves whether there is anything to it.

On November 28th, one month ago, Reuters reported that during a 3-day span 169 whales and dolphins beached themselves in Tasmania, an island off the southern coast of mainland Australia, and in New Zealand. The cause for these beachings is not known, but Bob Brown, a senator in the Australian parliament, said "sound bombing" or seismic tests of ocean floors to test for oil and gas had been carried out near the sites of the Tasmanian beachings recently.

According to Jim Cummings of the Acoustic Ecology Institute, Seismic surveys utilizing airguns have been taking place in mineral-rich areas of the world's oceans since 1968. Among the areas that have experienced the most intense survey activity are the North Sea, the Beaufort Sea (off Alaska's North Slope) and the Gulf of Mexico; areas around Australia and South America are also current hot-spots of activity.

The impulses created by the release of air from arrays of up to 24 airguns create low frequency sound waves powerful enough to penetrate up to 40km below the seafloor. The "source level" of these sound waves is generally over 200dB (and often 230dB or more), roughly comparable to a sound of at least 140-170dB in air.

According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, these 200dB — 230dB shots from the airguns are fired every 10 seconds or so, from 10 meters below the surface, 24 hours a day, for 2 week periods of time, weather permitting.

These types of tests are known to affect whales and dolphins, whose acute hearing and use of sonar is very sensitive.

On December 24th there was a magnitude 8.1 earthquake more than 500 miles southeast of Tasmania near New Zealand, with a subsequent aftershock 6.1 a little later in the morning that same day.

On December 26th, the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck at the intersection of the Australian tectonic plate and the Indian tectonic plate. This is the devastating tsunami tragedy that we have all heard about in the Indian Ocean. The death toll of this horrific event has reached 120,000 souls and continues to rise.

On December 27th, 20 whales beached themselves 110 miles west of Hobart on the southern island state of Tasmania.

What is interesting about this is that the same place where the whale beachings have been taking place over the last 30 days is the same general area where the 8.1 Australian earthquake took place, and this is the same area where they are doing these seismic tests. Then two days after the Australian tectonic plate shifted, the 9.0 earthquake shook the coast of Indonesia.

A great deal of interest and seismic testing has been taking place in this area, as the government of Australia has given great tax breaks to encourage the oil exploration.

Two Geologists that I spoke to felt that it was highly unlikely that these seismic tests would have had enough energy to induce the Australian quake. On the other hand there is strong evidence that suggests that oil exploration activities have induced earthquakes in the past.

Again, I don't claim to be an expert. I'm writing this story to bring attention to some interesting facts, so that those who are experts can investigate this fully.

Whale Beachings in Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand on November 30th, 2004

Location of Australian 8.1 Earthquake between Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand on December 24th — The Australian / New Zealand earthquake is the one on the bottom right hand side of the picture.

Location of the 9.0 Indonesian Earthquake and it's relationship to the Australian Tectonic Plate

Additional information:

© Copyright 2004 Independent Media TV

This article appeared originally at

Comment by Peter Meyer, 2005-01-10:

In one of the articles linked to above, Mystery of mass whale, dolphin beachings in Tasmania (originally published in The Independent, UK, 2004-10-30) we read:

Warwick Brennen, a spokesman for the [Australian] Department of Environment, described the scene on King Island. "It is quite grim. You've got a large number of spectacular animals that are dead. There are some baby whales as well, so it's not a pleasant sight," he said. "Why strandings occur is really one of the great mysteries. But we'll look into things like local weather patterns, to see if we can shed some light."

Local weather patterns cause whales and dolphins to beach themselves and die? Is the Australian Department of the Environment run by idiots?

It's no mystery. Already in October 2003 the BBC reported that the likely reason for cetacean deaths in this manner is soundwaves from underwater sonar equipment. Apparently the Australian Department of the Environment is uninformed on this matter. Of course, the Australian administration of John Howard would much prefer to link these cetacean deaths to "local weather patterns" than to the activities of the oil companies with whom it has potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration contracts.

'Why did the US State Department remain mum on the existence of an impending catastrophe?,' author Michel Chossudovsky pondered.

'Probably because fishermen in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand don't have multimillion dollar communications equipment handy,' one respondent said as readers posted angry replies."

Ah, but of course they do. Fishermen have cell phones, which gives them access to multimillion dollar communications networks. The cellphone penetration throughout the whole area of the disaster was such that if SMS messaging had been used to give a warning, tens of thousands of lives might have been spared. The U. S. had enough time to notify its naval base on Diego Garcia. Why did it not make even the slightest attempt to notify anyone else? Even a partly successful attempt would have saved many lives, particularly in coastal cities and resorts. The advantages of the tsunami to the United States:

  1. it further weakens the 'Asian tigers', countries whose success was an embarrassment to the American rapacious model of world development;

  2. it provides lots of opportunities for friends of the Bush Administration to enrich themselves in lucrative 'emergency' supply contracts for the rescue mission;

  3. it gives American ships an excuse to be in places they would not otherwise have an excuse to be, and plenty of opportunity to unload whatever cargo they might later find useful around the Indian Ocean; and

  4. it provides the chance for an ostentatious show of American goodwill which can be used in the propaganda campaign to restore the image of the United States in the world.


A copy of the entire Serendipity website is available on CD-ROM.  Details here.

The Tsunami: Why did the Information Not Get Out?
Serendipity Home Page