Tag Archives: whale fall

The metaphor of the whale fall

whale fall When a wale dies, its body falls to the ocean floor. When this happens in shallow water, the normal scavengers recycle the body back into the earth and air in a matter of days or weeks.

However, when the ocean’s floor is deeper than 6,600 ft, the carcass falls below the reach of the traditional scavengers. And something miraculous happens: The whale’s fallen body becomes the home of a unique, diverse ecosystem that sustains life for 50 years or more. This is called a whale fall.

Whale falls were first discovered in the 1980s when robotic submersibles were able to explore deeper areas of the ocean floor. But I only heard about it last week when I attended a press preview of the Aquarium of the Pacific‘s new Ocean Exploration: Wonders of the Deep exhibit. ocean exploration: wonders of the deep The concept captured my imagination and kept floating around in my mind until the other day when I realized it was a metaphor for life.

I’ve written about this before: You can find silver linings in almost all less-than-perfect situations. The whale fall is just a physical manifestation of the fact that you can find blessings in sorrow. Sometimes they are obvious and you see them right away. Sometimes it can take you years to see the blessings. But they are there none-the-less.
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