Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map.
- Some scientists think bubbly gas blowouts from seafloor methane deposits could contribute to “disappearances” associated with the Bermuda Triangle. What is the Bermuda Triangle? Take a look at today’s MapMaker Interactive map for some help.
- The Bermuda Triangle is a loosely defined region of the western North Atlantic Ocean, between Miami, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the island of Bermuda.
- Since the early 1960s, the “Bermuda Triangle” has been a legendary site associated with supernatural disappearances of ships and planes. This has no basis in fact; ships and planes “vanish in the Bermuda Triangle as often as they vanish from anywhere else.”
- A 1976 NOVA episode was unequivocally dismissive about the concept: “Science does not have to answer questions about the Triangle because those questions are not valid in the first place.” (Way to go, NOVA.)
- If the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle is hype, why do people think planes and ships are more likely to disappear in the area? Take a look at the third bookmark in today’s MapMaker Interactive map for some help. (Don’t be afraid to adjust the transparency levels!)
- The Bermuda Triangle is one of the most hurricane-prone areas of the Atlantic Ocean. Ships and planes are much more likely to encounter strong tropical storms in this region than many others.
- The Gulf Stream, one of the world’s most recognizable ocean currents in the world, flows right through the Bermuda Triangle. Debris from sunken ships or planes may not drift to the bottom of the ocean, but instead be transported north by this extremely powerful current.
- The myth of the Bermuda Triangle is a great story perpetuated by unsupported evidence. Many accounts of missing vessels fail to report the weather conditions at the time of the ships’ disappearance, for example. Other accounts report ships or planes as “missing”—but fail to report their return.
- What are methane (gas) hydrate deposits?
- According to this Nat Geo TV show, methane deposits are “strange, milky, waxy materials” that coat the seafloor around continental shelves. The Associated Press gives a fuller explanation: “An odorless gas found in swamps and mines, methane becomes solid under the enormous pressures found on deep sea floors. The ice-like methane deposits can break off and become gaseous as they rise, creating bubbles at the surface.”
- How might methane bubbles disrupt the travel of ships and planes, and even contribute to disappearances?
- Methane bubbles can decrease the buoyancy of ships, and may contribute to sinking.
- Methane gas is also very flammable; operators of offshore oil platforms are well-aware of the dangers of methane blowouts, nicknamed “burps of death.” Some scientists speculate that methane gas released into the atmosphere may even interact with airplane engines and cause sudden mid-air explosions.
- Make no mistake: Methane blowouts might not contribute to disappearances at all. All evidence of ship destabilization due to methane bubbles is based on laboratory tests, and the real-world tests conducted by Nat Geo were inconclusive at best. (Cue up this Bermuda Triangle video to about 33:50 for the methane bubble experiment.)
Associated Press via NBC News: Could methane bubbles sink ships?
Nat Geo: Drain the Bermuda Triangle video