“It looks like we are entering troubled waters… We are completely lost.” December 1945, these words, transmitted by radio, are the last traces of fourteen men aboard a fleet of five planes before they disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. With them, thirteen other people on board a seaplane also evaporated.
This tragic event could have been forgotten, but it is the origin of a legend that still persists today: that of the Bermuda Triangle. This immense geographical area stretches between Florida, Puerto Rico and the Bermuda archipelago.
Since the 1940s, many ships and planes have disappeared into the waters, without anyone really knowing what caused them. According to Geo, no less than 4 planes and 20 boats evaporate on average each year in these troubled waters.
This seemingly insoluble mystery has given way to many interpretations and theories. Some people argue that a giant monster is behind these disappearances, like the Kraken or Lusca, a giant octopus from the legends of Andros Island in the Bahamas, which lives in sea cavities under the ocean.
For others, extraterrestrials would have established an underwater base and would regularly kidnap men who would dare to venture into the devil’s triangle. Door to another dimension, habitat of an ancient underwater civilization… There are many theories surrounding this place full of mysteries.
How do scientists explain these phenomena?
For centuries, this maritime area has been very busy. “This has been a very active crossroads since the earliest days of European exploration,” said John Reillyn, historian at the U.S. Naval Historical Foundation, as reported by National Geographic. So, with such a flow, it is not necessarily surprising that many accidents occur.
“We know from experience that, each year, the combined forces of nature and the unpredictability of mankind often go beyond science fiction stories,” wrote Lt. A. L. Russel in the official response. from the United States Coast Guard to questions about the Bermuda Triangle.
For scientists, there are other elements that support this thesis.
The truth behind myths and legends such as the Bermuda Triangle often turns out to be disappointing. According to scientists who have studied the question, an underwater mountain almost 4,000 meters high resides under Bermuda. This would thus be at the origin of the formation of reefs that can cause accidents at sea.
In addition, as our colleagues from Slate point out, this place would be one of the only places where geographic north and magnetic north align, making it difficult to read compasses.
The weather and atmospheric conditions are also far from favorable for navigation. Hurricanes can be a recurring problem as well as strong currents, storms or gigantic waves caused by the wind, are also more plausible hypotheses than sea monsters or extraterrestrials to explain disappearances, even if they are less attractive.