All You Need to Know About The Bermuda Triangle
Written by Manya Pandey, a first-year undergraduate student.
Is there a scientific reason for the disappearances? Find out here…
Written by Manya Pandey, a first-year undergraduate student.
The Bermuda Triangle is often spoken about as the biggest sea mystery of all time. It is an area where many ships and aircraft have disappeared over a period of time.
But, it is really mysterious. Or, have we made a mystery out of it because we did not understand what happened?
Let’s look at it…
Where is the Bermuda Triangle located?
There’s no real boundary as such, but what’s referred to as the Bermuda Triangle is a sort-of triangle-shaped region in the Atlantic Ocean between the island of Bermuda, the coast of Florida, the US, and the islands of Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
Here’s a map to explain the location better.
The region is also known as the Devil’s Triangle.
So, there’s an island known as Bermuda?
Yes. It’s an archipelago (it’s what a group of islands is called) of 7 biggish islands and some 170 more little islets and rocks. The capital is Hamilton.
Ok, so tell me, what’s the urban legend surrounding the triangle?
For decades now, the Bermuda Triangle has haunted human imagination with the so-called, mysterious disappearances.
Because we did not know the reason for the mysterious disappearances, many theories (some quite far out) have sprung up about the reason for these disappearances, like aliens kidnapping humans for research, hungry sea monsters gobbling tons of cargo onboard, vortices that act as wormholes to the other dimensions, gigantic magnets the on sea floor, in which all passing ships and planes get stuck and more.
But, the question is – is that true, or is there a scientific reason that we could not understand earlier?
Some of the explanations are more grounded in science, if not in evidence – such as the theory of magnetic influence and gigantic sea vortices (high-speed circular waves) or the phenomenon where methane gas erupts from ocean sediments at high pressure and temperature.
Also, there could be a simple explanation about why this happens.
Let’s take the most famous disappearance and think about what could have happened…
The disappearance of Flight 19
Flight 19 was a group of five torpedo bombers that disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945.
Here’s what happened…
At about 2:00 p.m. on 5 December 1945, five bomber aircraft took off from the U.S. Naval Air Station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was meant to be a routine training flight. A person named Lt. Charles C. Taylor was the flight’s leader.
At first, everything went was alright, but at about 3:45 p.m the control tower received a message from Taylor. A seasoned flier, Taylor is said to have sounded confused and worried.
He said that he could not see land and was probably off course. When the tower asked what their position was, he said he could not tell.
A few minutes later, here’s what a voice (not that of Taylor) is supposed to have said, “We can’t find west. Everything is wrong. We can’t be sure of any direction. Everything looks strange, even the ocean…”
Another 20 minutes passed, after which the new voice again said..”We can’t tell where we are… everything is… can’t make out anything….”. Then came the last words from Flight 19. “It looks like we are entering white water… We’re completely lost.”
What did the investigation find?
It was found that as it got dark, Taylor, for some reason, took the planes to the wrong location. And, here’s the thing that is not spoken about much..
Taylor had gotten lost while flying earlier too. Twice before he had needed to be rescued from the Pacific Ocean. But, the U.S. Navy did not want to talk about this fact too much and the incident was finally described as a “cause unknown”.
Moreover, most of the pilots on Flight 19 were only trainees. They were, if you think about it, not experienced enough to navigate and use aircraft instruments when flying in bad weather or in the dark.
So, instead of attributing the disappearance to mysterious (alien) factors, it could just be a case of human error…that’s what our scientific minds should believe.
Ok, so back to the history of the Bermuda Triangle
Who spotted this first?
Ancient Sailors witnessed something strange while passing through the regions, like green lights or mysterious shadows (or so they reported).
One of the greatest sea captains, Christopher Columbus, wrote in his log about bizarre compass bearings in the area and describes how a great flame crashed into the sea and a strange light appeared a while later but it wasn’t until the 20th century when the devil’s triangle caught the public’s attention.
The first ship to be lost…
In 1918, a 500-foot US Navy ship called the cyclops along with its 309 crew members disappeared here. This was the single largest loss of life in the history of the US navy. Unfortunately, the ship was carrying tons of manganese ore and was running with a dysfunctional engine. A little later the aircraft sent to find it also disappeared mysteriously.
Who coined the name the “Bermuda Triangle”?
The region remained unnamed until August 1964, when certain writer Vincent Gaddis, coined the term Bermuda Triangle and also defined the three vertices of the triangle in a cover story for a magazine about the disappearance of Flight 19, flight 19 was a naval squadron of five military bomber aircraft that disappeared into the Bermuda triangle and were never heard or seen again despite all the military search operations.
But, it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be..
Here’s a fact that’s not well known.
Despite all the mystery around it, incidences of disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle are not more than in other regions of the Atlantic Ocean where there is a large movement of ships.
In fact, in 2013 the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) undertook a study and determined that the Bermuda Triangle does not figure in the world’s top ten most dangerous bodies of water for shipping.
The weather – a possible factor…
The area normally experiences huge Atlantic hurricanes which could raise 8 feet high waves, capable of swallowing the largest of sea vessels.
Along with violent weather conditions the region also has the notorious gulf stream. The Gulf stream is a strong ocean current that causes sharp changes in the weather. It is about 64 to 80-kilometer-wide and can swipe away wreckage and even smaller boats with less powerful engines. In essence, the Bermuda triangle packs a lot of dangerous sea elements.
Is there any real science behind it?
Other than previously discussed factors such as magnetic anomalies, methane bubbles sinking the ship, and weather adversities such as hurricanes and large waves – here’s another scientific explanation often given.
The most widely accepted theory is that of hexagonal clouds hovering over the sea enclosed by the triangle. This theory was based on an analysis of space satellite images and noticed some honeycomb or hexagonal patterns in the clouds over the Bermuda triangle.
These clouds, it said, could be acting like air bombs or microbursts sending high-velocity winds down the sea and creating whale-sized sea waves in return but such clouds are also found in other regions of the Earth as well, especially in the high or mid-latitude colder areas.
Has anyone ever returned from the Bermuda triangle?
Yes, despite the reputation of the Bermuda Triangle, not all the ships going in disappeared, as mentioned above. Sometimes the ships survived storms and came slightly wrecked and other times only the crew could be found as it happened in 1949 with an aircraft named B-29 (of a bomb squadron) where 18 survivors except two missing crewmen were rescued 385 miles northeast of Bermuda around three days later.
A few times only an empty ship came back ashore without any crew or people as happened with Rosalie in 1840. The wreckage of a sunken ship named SS Cotopaxi,( in 1925 ) was found decades later in 1985 off the coast of Florida but most vessels and aircraft almost vanished in thin air and were never seen or heard from again.
The Bermuda triangle of space
The Bermuda triangle of space is a separate region above the south Atlantic sky that has also impacted spacecraft flying by. This area is formally known as South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) and stretches from Chile to Zimbabwe.
Basically, it has a very low magnetic field so it’s easier for particles from intense sun rays to damage the electrical equipment in the satellites. Even the Hubble Space Telescope, which passes through this zone 10 times a day, is unable to collect astronomical data during these moments.
More Facts About the Bermuda Triangle
Officially, the Bermuda Triangle does not appear on any world maps
The region became popular after the release of a book named The Bermuda Triangle in 1974. Written by Charles Berlitz the book claims that the lost island of Atlantis was one of the reasons for the disappearances.
The Bermuda Triangle is a busy region for traffic – by sea and by air. It’s actually one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Also, the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean, named the Milwaukee Depth, is located in the Bermuda Triangle.
Like this article? Read more famous mysteries, here
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