In 1997, NOAA scientists recorded a strange and disturbing sound in the depths of the South Pacific Ocean.
Theories about the origins of the sound included an undiscovered sea creature.
In 2011, NOAA scientists concluded that the sound was the cracking of an ice shelf during an earthquake.
In the summer of 1997, scientists recorded a strange, loud noise originating from an area west of the southern coast of Chile. They nicknamed him “the bloop.”
While searching for underwater volcanoes, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded the infamous ultra-low frequency sound with hydrophones. These underwater microphones the US Navy originally developed they were 2,000 miles away in the Pacific Ocean.
The sound, which lasted about a minute, was one of the loudest underwater sounds ever recorded. You can listen to the bloop sped up 16 times below:
Over the years, theories abounded as to the origin of the mysterious sound of the ocean.
“We considered all possibilities, including animal origin,” said Christopher Fox, chief scientist for NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Acoustic Monitoring Project. the atlantic for a short film about sound in 2017.
What created the booming noise stumped scientists for years.
It wasn’t until 2005, when NOAA embarked on an acoustic survey of Antarctica off South America, that scientists began to understand the origins of the bloop.
Robert Dziak of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory told Insider via email that in 2011, after collecting all the data, the agency was able to definitively explain what the problem was.
The official ruling: It was the sound of an earthquake, created by the cracking of an ice shelf as it broke away from an Antarctic glacier.
The “sounds of ice breaking and cracking are a dominant source of natural sound in the southern ocean,” Dziak said. cabling in 2012. “Every year there are tens of thousands of what we call ‘ice earthquakes’ created by cracking and melting of sea ice and ice breaking off glaciers into the ocean, and these signals are very similar in character to the bloop”.
The icebergs that generated the bloop were likely located between Antarctica’s Bransfield Strait and the Ross Sea, or Cape Adare, according to NOAA.
Ice quakes occur when glaciers fracture in the ocean, breaking the ice. The sudden crack produces a loud pop or booming sound. With climate change, NOAA warns Earthquakes are becoming more common.
Rising global temperatures melt glacial ice, creating water that can freeze again and cause an earthquake.
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