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Originally published Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM

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Puget Sound orcas causes delays for research ship

An expedition to study earthquake and tsunami risks off the coasts of Washington and Oregon has been scaled back for now out of concerns for Puget Sound orcas.

The Associated Press

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TACOMA, Wash. —

An expedition to study earthquake and tsunami risks off the coasts of Washington and Oregon has been scaled back for now out of concerns for Puget Sound orcas.

KPLU reports (http://bit.ly/L3JI4E) that a research ship based at Columbia University is using sonar to map a major earthquake fault along the Northwest coast.

Researchers got a permit from the federal agency that protects whales, but experts in Washington and Oregon initially were not consulted.

The R/V Langseth docked in Astoria, Ore., earlier this week, while scientists negotiated with marine biologists over how to use the sonar while protecting killer whales that swim near the ship. Sonar blasts potentially could harm the whales.

For now, scientists are limited to one of three planned surveys. Negotiations are still under way over the others.

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Information from: KPLU-FM, http://www.kplu.org/

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