What some people think The Bloop came from. Considering roughly 95 percent of the ocean is still unexplored, there could potentially be a deep cave this guy lives in. Let’s hope not, though.
Featured Image Credit: It’s Something wikia
By Jessica Kittel
In 1997, scientists working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) heard for the first time what would come to be (affectionately) known as “The Bloop.” The source of The Bloop would go on to stump scientists for years and, in the mean time, became a source of wonder as well as fuel for supernatural theorists.
Theories have ranged anywhere from a very large squid (the more realistic end of the spectrum) to H.P. Lovecraft’s mythical beast, Cthulhu (the less realistic end of the spectrum). Unfortunately for all those who were holding out for a mythical beast, alas, it would appear that the mystery has been solved, and includes a very logical and well-supported explanation.
However, before we give away the ending, let’s go over the backstory of The Bloop. Back in the 1960s, thanks to a little event known as the Cold War, the US Navy set-up an extensive network of hydrophones (underwater microphones). This Sound Surveillance System (aka SOSUS) was apparently used to track the Soviet Union’s movements until the Soviet Union went caput in 1991. As they were no longer of use to the Navy, the hydrophones then became available to oceanographers to be utilized for various research by NOAA. SOSUS proved to be a very valuable tool for marine research since sound travels roughly four times faster underwater than in air. Scientists were able to use SOSUS for everything from whale research to underwater earthquake studies.
In 1997, SOSUS heard a sound unlike any sound ever recorded underwater. The sound, which lasted for about one minute, was received at an ultra low frequency and was very, very loud. So loud, it was picked up by multiple listening stations that were over 3,000 miles away from each other. Undetectable by humans ears, the sound quickly rose in frequency and then suddenly stopped.
Amazed by the intensity of the sound, researchers investigated further. Based off of the locations of the various hydrophones that recevied the sound, scientists were able to triangulate the location and pin point a spot off the west coast of South America, near the Antarctic. Over the next few weeks, scientists continued to hear similar sounds in the Indian Ocean. However, one day, the sounds stopped and weren’t heard after that.
These sounds had the scientists curious. They noted that The Bloop had been detected at a frequency that was typical of biological sounds (i.e. made by an animal). However, The Bloop was substantially louder than the sounds recorded of the ocean’s loudest known animal, the blue whale. They concluded that, in order for it to be biological in origin, the creature that made the sound would have to be sustantially larger than the largest animal to ever exist or would have to be in possession of an exceptionally effective method for producing sounds. Cue sea monster theories!
In 2005, NOAA embarked on an acoustical survey of the Antarctic off of South America and very near the location where The Bloop had been pin pointed. The survey continued until 2010 and, by then, researchers had a pretty good idea of what the source of The Bloop was. Researchers discovered that the broad spectrum sounds, frequency, and time duration characteristics present in The Bloop’s recording were nearly identical to recordings of ice-quakes that are created by large icebergs as they crack and fracture.
So, it turns out, the official ruling on that super-weird-maybe-a-sea-monster sound is as simple as an exceptionally large ice-quake and the consequential crack of a large iceberg that had calved off. Sorry mythological theory hopefuls, better luck next time!