Thursday, September 16

Bermuda Triangle: This is what science says about the enigma | Digital Trends Spanish

The Bermuda Triangle is an enigma that has spanned decades and has served as the inspiration for series and movies, as well as multiple conspiracy theories. But,what science says about the Bermuda Triangle? We explain it to you.

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The Bermuda Triangle is an area of ​​the Atlantic Ocean of about 500,000 square kilometers located between Florida (United States), Puerto Rico and Bermuda. The place owes its name to the fact that if these three places are joined on a map, a triangle is formed.

Up to 1,000 people have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. For decades, sailors and airmen have long said that this is an area that has supernatural forces. But science has other explanations.

Origin of the mystery

Getty Images

The place began to acquire its sad fame on December 5, 1945, when 5 bombers with 14 American pilots disappeared in the area, without leaving a trace. To add to the mystery, a search plane for the victims also disappeared along with its 13 crew members.

The area was christened the Bermuda Triangle by journalist Edward van Winkle, who in the 1950s wrote an article for the agency Associated Press about the mysterious disappearances. However, the issue took off in 1974.

Charles Berlitz, an American writer of paranormal phenomena, published the book The Bermuda Triangle, which sold about 20 million copies. Berlitz offered rational explanations for the disappearances, like the official US Coast Guard reports, but added paranormal phenomena, such as UFOs, military experiments or remnants of ancient civilizations.

However, most of these cases were dismissed by pilot and essayist Larry Kusche in his books. The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved (1975) and The Disappearance of Flight 19 (1980), where he affirms that all the incidents had been caused by storms, human failures, had been registered outside the Triangle or, even, did not even exist.

What science says

Bermuda Triangle / Illustration
Illustration of the Bermuda Triangle. Getty Images

The Bermuda Triangle area is one of the busiest in the world. It is estimated that more than 10 million ships have passed through the area in the last century, but only about 100 ships and 50 aircraft have been reported missing. That is, a rate of 0.002 percent.

The number of incidents involving airplanes and ships is similar to that of other equally busy areas, also considering not only large ships circulate, but also small boats and it is an area of ​​large storms and hurricanes.

Although the area remains of scientific interest, there is also no one answer that encompasses all incidents. And if the specialists agree on something, it is that behind the incidents, there are multiple explanations.

Rebellious waves

Another theory was offered in 2018 by British oceanographers from the University of Southampton. After studying the site for decades, they concluded that some of the unexplained missing ships have been sucked up by rogue waves more than 30 meters high.

The phenomenon, identified by satellite for the first time in South Africa in 1997, occurs due to the union of storms from the north and south, but lasts a few minutes, according to the team of researcher Simon Boxall. The researchers concluded that these giant waves were at least responsible for the sinking of the USS Cyclops in 1918.

Methane gas hydrates

Another theory, although with fewer adherents, is the one developed by the geochemist Richard McIver – an Exxon Mobile researcher – who in 1981 linked the methane gas explosions and the myth of the Bermuda Triangle.

Large landslides on the North American continental shelf break up methane gas hydrates – a crystalline solid of methane gas and water – releasing giant bubbles of methane gas that would affect the lift of ships. In fact, if it formed around a ship, it would sink without warning.

Geologist Bill Dillon of the United States Geological Survey cautioned that there is no evidence of a methane release in the past 15,000 years. Although the phenomenon is possible, a ship would have to pass through the right place at the right time. Something unlikely.

Human factor

The human factor seems to be one of the most likely explanations, such as wrong decisions by aircraft pilots or ship captains in unforeseen situations. So believes Shane Satterley, a doctoral candidate at Griffith University (Australia), who searched the records of the incidents.

Satterley concluded that the human factor accounts for the greatest number of incidents. “Take the disappearance of Charles Taylor and the five planes that the United States Navy investigated. (…) When it got dark and the weather changed, Taylor had taken the planes to the wrong place, “he explained in an article to The Conversation.


Although many media mistakenly collected this information in early 2021 and was even attributed to a NASA report, the South Atlantic Anomaly (AAS) is not one of the theories that explains the incidents.

Called the “Bermuda Triangle of Space” –Which would explain the confusion–, it is an area over South America and the southern Atlantic Ocean where the intensity of solar radiation is greater than in other regions, due to a depression of the Earth’s magnetic field.

While the phenomenon is of importance to satellites and other spacecraft orbiting hundreds of kilometers and is of interest to space agencies, the NASA has not established any relationship between the AAS and the Bermuda Triangle.

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