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The National Science Foundation is planning what it calls a “marine seismic research” project during which “various research vessels operated by U.S. academic institutions or government agencies” will use a variety of underwater devices such as water guns and air guns to shake up the seafloor in the interest of “collecting seismic reflection and refraction data that reveal the structure and stratigraphy of the crust and/or overlying sediment below the world‘s oceans.” According to a recent release, “NSF has a continuing need to fund seismic surveys that enable scientists to collect data essential to understanding the complex Earth processes beneath the ocean floor.”

Last week the agency issued a draft environmental impact statement saying that the project is “vital to making ocean drilling scientifically useful and environmentally safe.” The study comes just as the Obama administration announced last week that it was lifting its ban on deepwater oil drilling imposed after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The public gets its chance to weigh in on the possible negative impacts of the project on whales, fish, turtles, and other denizens of the deep at a hearing from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 25, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Vaughn Hall in La Jolla.

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a2zresource Oct. 20, 2010 @ 9:14 a.m.

The reaction of informed students regarding "“various research vessels operated by U.S. academic institutions" could be a story all on its own.

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