A team of British scientists from the University of Southampton believes they have solved the mystery of how ships go missing in the Bermuda Triangle. While their theory does not account for how planes seem to disappear in the area also known as the Devil’s Triangle, it may be the first plausible explanation for one half of the mystery. The Bermuda Triangle is a parcel of ocean in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean which stretches 700,000 square km (270,271 square miles) between Florida, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Regarded as one of the most treacherous areas on Earth to travel, the Bermuda Triangle has claimed the lives of over 1,000 people in the past 100 years.
According to Fox News, the answer they have arrived at, while not as mysterious as the “electronic fog” or “methane gas” theories, is within the realm of reality. They believe the mystery of Devil’s Triangle ship disappearances can be chalked up to a phenomena known as rogue waves. A rogue wave is the product of at least two major weather systems converging on one another from opposite directions over open water. The phenomena had been theorized long ago; however, there was never any concrete evidence of their existence until 1997 when one was caught on satellite footage off the coast of South Africa. At that time, it was no longer a tale told by mariners, and it became a reality.
From the standpoint of a meteorologist, the Bermuda Triangle is the perfect cauldron to create a zone friendly for the convergence of major weather systems, which is what is necessary to create rogue waves. The region experiences storms that sweep through on a regular basis that are formed to its north and south. That alone has the potential to create a rogue wave; however, they may not be large enough to actually sink large vessels and can be chalked up to rough seas associated to the passage of any major system. The real danger lies within the convergence of systems from the north and south converging on a system coming in from Florida. That is when a rogue wave can potentially reach a height of 100 feet or more and be deadly, wreaking complete destruction on a massive ship in the space of two to three minutes.
Simulators have been created to mimic rogue waves, and the ship that was tested first against them was a replica of the USS Cyclops which disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 1918, claiming 306 lives. For reference, the USS Cyclops was a massive Proteus-class collier that was 542 feet long, with a displacement of 19,360 long tons. When she went down, she was hauling 10,800 long tons of manganese ore, and her loss resulted in the greatest U.S.N. loss of life on a ship that was not the result of combat. In simulators, scale models of the USS Cyclops are usually overcome with water within a few minutes and sink.
As simulators can’t exactly replicate nature 100 percent accurately, stress points on models are also studied and reveal the possibility that with certain angles of impact against flat-bottom ships, such as the USS Cyclops, it would be possible for a rogue wave to snap the ship in half. Because rogue waves only last for a few minutes, ships can be overtaken prior to getting mayday calls out, and there would be no physical indicators on the surface of the ocean to indicate the anomaly ever took place.
Dr. Simon Boxall, an ocean and earth scientist, concurred that the Bermuda Triangle is the perfect genesis location for rogue waves, as reported by News Australia.
“There are storms to the south and north, which come together. 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.”
While the entire scientific community isn’t sold on the theory just yet, it is generally agreed upon that this is the most scientifically plausible reason for Bermuda Triangle ship disappearances put forth so far, as per Accuweather.