I’ve seen a fish flounder and I’ve seen a sailfish soar, but I have never seen a whale explode. I should be grateful for this.
What happens when a whale beaches itself and dies? Parks and Recreation must remove the carcass of course. But how do you remove a multi-ton whale into manageable pieces? Why, you detonate it with sticks of dynamite d-UH!
An event that occurred in Florence, Oregon in 1970 coined and defined the term ‘exploding whale.‘ When a dead 8-ton sperm whale washed ashore, The Oregon Highway Division (Oregon Dept. of Transportation,) madean impromptu and ill-informed decision to follow U.S. Navy advice to ‘cut apart’ the carcass using controlled detonations of dynamite.
The idea was simple; fracture the rotting hulk of whale flesh like a boulder. By violently breaking the decaying flesh into smaller pieces, the scavengers (sea birds, seals, crabs, etc.) would be better suited to cleaning-up the mess in a responsible and ecologically sound manner. What occurred however became the stuff of FAIL legend.
Exploding Volcano of Dead Whale Guts
The explosion threw rotting whale flesh upwards and outwards over 800 feet in all directions. Decayed whale flesh, meat, blubber and bodily fluids rained-down upon the beach and surrounding area including a nearby parking lot, severely damaging at least one vehicle.
Exploding Whale Video
A video of the event became an online viral success, and ‘exploding whale’ forever became synonymous with this singular event. But other events of ‘exploding whale’ have occurred since.
A fairly circulated set of images of an exploding whale event occurred in 2004 in Taiwan when a dead and decomposing whale was being transported via flatbed trailer through a crowded suburban area.
The build-up of bodily gases caused the whale to erupt violently, spewing rotting guts, internal organs and oily blubber masses onto the streets, cars and bystanders. Rotting blubber hung from the trees for weeks.
Because of incidents such as these, it is now generally considered that the best way to remove dead whale carcasses from the beach are to tow them out to sea and, in an effort to avoid the dead Leviathan from being a navigational hazard to ships and vessels, to detonate the carcass at sea and create a natural ‘…Whale Fall.’
Using dynamite to explode a dead whale carcass at sea makes more sense; the pressure of the water against the body of the whale would in fact concentrate the explosive force into the whale, more effectively disintegrating it into very small pieces.
Another option is to bury the whale where it stranded, if the sand strata permits. Otherwise, the dead cetacean is towed to any beach where the soil is more suitable for interment.