Aw Nuts! They solved the BLOOP


Sad news, kids!  The Bloop, an unidentified mystery sound that was thought to have come from maybe the Krakken or the Dark Lord Cthulu Himself has turned out to be something Not That At All.

For those forgetting (I know I forgot), the Bloop was an extremely loud and low-frequency sound that was picked up from an array of NOAA hydrophones in the South Pacific, over 3,000 miles away from its original source.  Nobody had any idea what it was, but the signature of the sound closely resembled that of a living creature — albeit an enormous one.  The sound can be heard below:


Unfortunately, the NOAA has determined that the sound is not the world’s largest squid come to swallow us whole, but something a bit more mundane.  Apparently, it is just the sound of “icequakes,” or very large icebergs as they fracture and split apart.  From the NOAA:

The broad spectrum sounds recorded in the summer of 1997 are consistent with icequakes generated by large icebergs as they crack and fracture. NOAA hydrophones deployed in the Scotia Sea detected numerous icequakes with spectrograms very similar to “Bloop”. The icequakes were used to acoustically track iceberg A53a as it disintegrated near South Georgia Island in early 2008. Icequakes are of sufficient amplitude to be detected on multiple sensors at a range of over 5000 km. Based on the arrival azimuth, the iceberg(s) generating “Bloop” most likely were between Bransfield Straits and the Ross Sea, or possibly at Cape Adare, a well know source of cryogenic signals.

While this is mildly disappointing for my Mayan Apocalypse plans, there is still hope yet for a number of unexplained sounds.  The origins of Slow Down, Train, and Upsweep are still out there, somewhere.  Waiting.




About Michael Ballaban

Editor, The Ball-Aban News

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