A few things were missing in The Tribune’s Oct. 7 article “Sound and worry” about the impact of the high-decibel sonic tests planned for November off our shores.
First, what is a decibel? It is an exponential — not a linear — way of measuring the volume or loudness of sound. Twenty decibels is twice the volume of 10 decibels; 30 decibels is twice the volume of 20 decibels, and so on with each increment of 10. Hearing protection is recommended for long exposure to anything more than 85 decibels; 125 decibels is the threshold of pain; and at 160 decibels, the eardrum will rupture. Two hundredfifty decibels is 500 times stronger than this. It will kill fish, dolphins, seals, otters and whales, and for what?
We already know that there is a fault line out there. If it turns out that an earthquake is imminent, will PG&E immediately shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant? Or is the real reason for the survey a way of surreptitiously locating potential oil deposits?
The other economic factor to consider is what impact hundreds of sea mammal carcasses washed upon our beaches will have on tourism.
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