Eerie video reveals terrifying sound a submarine’s SONAR makes while underwater
- An ear-piercing shriek filled the ocean waters around a group of divers in the Bahamas
- ‘What was that?’ one diver exclaimed as the sound echoed through the deep
- Sonar has deadly effects on sea life, causing whales to swim deeper – and bleed from their eyes and ears – or strand themselves on beaches
A viral video has revealed the terrifying sound a submarine’s sonar makes underwater after a group of divers in the Bahamas were left baffled by the ear-piercing noise.
The eerie sound in the video is consistent with sonar, short for ‘sound navigation and ranging,’ a method for determining the location of underwater objects by emitting ultrasonic waves and measuring the reflected echoes.
The clip was originally posted to YouTube in November 2021, where it racked up 1.5 million views – but it was reposted to Reddit this year, garnering 55,000 approving ‘upvotes.’
It captures the moment a group of unsuspecting divers have their first encounter with sonar – as a high-pitched squeal rips through the water, punctuated by clicking sounds.
It startles the guide, who twists around and looks back at his companions.
‘What was that?’ the cameraman demands as the sound echoes faintly in the waters around them.
A pack of divers in Nassau, Bahamas were thrown off guard when they heard a submarine’s sonar for the first time
The piercing shriek and clicking sounds filled the water around them, startling the guide and prompting the man filming to exclaim: ‘What was that?’
Sonar, short for sound navigation and ranging, refers to the emission of ultrasonic waves to detect other objects in the water
However, the high-pitched sound can have deadly effects on sea life, especially whales
The group from Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas was exploring a coral reef known as the Pumpkin Patch.
The saltwater dive site was named for its striking orange coral mushrooms.
It is characterized by nutrient-rich waters that flow off the Great Bahama Bank, making it a fitting home for sea life.
And while the ear-splitting noise came as a momentary shock to the human visitors, exposure is deadly for sea life like whales and dolphins as it can cause injury and even death.
Sonar systems were developed by the U.S. Navy to find enemy submarines.
They emit slow-rolling sound waves that max out at around 235 decibels; by comparison, a rocket launch measures around 180 decibels.
These ultrasonic waves can travel for hundreds of miles underwater, retaining an intensity of 140 decibels as far as 300 miles from their source.
Loud noise above 120 decibels can cause instant harm to a person’s ears.
To escape the literally ear-splitting sound, whales swim hundreds of miles, rapidly change their depth – causing them to bleed from the eyes and ears – and even strand themselves on beaches.
A study from researchers at the University of St. Andrews found a possible explanation: sonar triggers the same fear response as when the animals hear calls emitted by killer whales.
The study was based on an observation of four whale species by the arctic circle – and while orcas are most commonly found in colder waters, they also spotted in tropical and subtropical areas like the Bahamas.
Whales and dolphins use their own form of ‘sonar’ through a process known as echolocation, emitting clicks that bounce back to help them hunt and evade predators
The U.S. Navy admitted that their use of sonar has led to numerous whale deaths, causing the animals to strand themselves on beaches
Dolphins and whales emit their own ‘sonar’ through a process called echolocation that helps them hunt and detect predators.
They project shrill beams of sound using air-spaces in their head, which they direct at a target. The sound bounces back like a boomerang.
However, echolocation has a natural place in the ocean, while sonar does not – and the U.S. Navy has even taken responsibility for whale deaths.
In 2002, the military branch admitted that their ship-based sonar killed at least six whales who stranded themselves and died on beaches.
Two years later, 34 whales beached along North Carolina’s Outer Banks while the military conducted offshore sonar training.
The National Resources Defense Council, an environmental policy nonprofit, has launched an ongoing campaign to protect marine life.
They had a major victory in 2016 when the Ninth Circuit court ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service had illegally approved a permit allowing the Navy to use high-intensity long-range sonar in more than 70 percent of the world’s oceans.
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