When oil companies are trying to figure out where to drill offshore, they drag an array of seismic air guns behind a boat as it sails around the ocean. Submerged air guns fire bursts of air downward to create sound waves that travel to the ocean floor and rebound back up to sensors. Here's what that looks like from the surface:
Underneath, however, it's much less entertaining. Arrays contain dozens of guns, each of which produces a burst with tens of thousands of times as much energy as a jet engine, according to Oceana Deputy Vice President Jacqueline Savitz, as reported by FuelFix. Good for getting sonar readings on the ocean floor. Bad for any animals that are swimming in the vicinity.
This is one reason that New Jersey lawmakers wrote a letter to President Obama, asking him to stop seismic surveys on the East Coast. The other reason: Who wants an oil well offshore? From FuelFix: