British Scientists Blame 'Rogue' Waves for Disappearance of Boats in Bermuda Triangle
Scientists at the University of Southampton in England believe that mysterious disappearances of boats in the Bermuda Triangle can be explained by a natural phenomenon known as "rogue waves."
Rogue waves were first observed via satellite off of the coast of South Africa in 1997. These waves last for just a few minutes, but can reach heights of almost 100'--easily enough to threaten even large ships.
The Bermuda Triangle Enigma, a recent documentary series which aired on the UK's Channel 5, invited the scientists to recreate the enormous waves using indoor simulators.
The team of scientists used a scale model of the USS Cyclops to demonstrate the awesome power of rogue waves. The huge vessel's size and flat base meant it was overcome with water very quickly in the simulation.
The USS Cyclops was particularly appropriate for the test, since it famously went missing in the Bermuda Triangle in 1918 with 306 crew and passengers lost as a result.
According to Dr. Simon Boxall, an ocean and earth scientist, the triangle can sometimes be affected by three massive storms that come together from different directions; which is the perfect scenario for the formation of rogue waves.
“There are storms to the south and north, which come together," Dr. Boxall explained. “And if there are additional ones from Florida, it can be a potentially deadly formation of rogue waves."
“They are steep, they are high--we’ve measured waves in excess of 30 metres," he continued. “The bigger the boat gets, the more damage is done. If you can imagine a rogue wave with peaks at either end, there’s nothing below the boat, so it snaps in two."
“If it happens, it can sink in two to three minutes.”
Unusual disappearances inside of an oceanographic triangle comprised of Florida, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico were widely reported beginning in the mid-20th century, with many prior historical cases documented since then. A number of natural explanations in addition to rogue waves have been posited for the disappearances--including compass variations, the Gulf Stream, violent weather, methane hydrates, and even simple human error. There are various paranormal theories as well, and some people believe that the area is home to heretofore undiscovered interdimensional energies and vortices.
Of course, still others insist that there is nothing special about the area at all, and a 2013 study by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that the Bermuda Triangle did not account for enough shipwrecks to be included in the top ten list of the world's most dangerous waters for shipping. This data did not, however, account for reported anomalous phenomena surrounding flights in the area.