Listen to “the bloop,” a strange noise recorded in the southern Pacific Ocean that has baffled scientists for years

Glaciers are melting in Antarctica on February 7, 2022.Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • In 1997, NOAA scientists recorded a strange, haunting sound in the depths of the South Pacific Ocean.

  • Theories about the origins of sound included an undiscovered sea creature.

  • In 2011, NOAA scientists concluded that the sound was the cracking of an ice shelf during an ice quake.

In the summer of 1997, scientists recorded a strange, loud noise coming from an area west of the southern coast of Chile. They nicknamed him “the bloop”.

While searching for underwater volcanoes, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers recorded the infamous loud, ultra-low frequency sound on hydrophones. These underwater microphones originally developed by the US Navy 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. Below you can listen to the bloop sped up 16 times:

Paola Alexandra Rosa · Bloop, a mysterious sound from the depths of the ocean

Over the years, theories about the origin of the mysterious ocean sound have abounded.

Some suspected it was the sound of military exercises, ships, a giant squid, blue whales or a new sea creature. After all, humans haven’t explored more than 80% of the world’s oceans.

“We considered all possibilities, including animal origin,” Christopher Fox, chief scientist of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab Acoustic Monitoring Project, told The Atlantic for a short film on sound in 2017. .

An adult blue whale swimming in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

An adult blue whale swimming in the eastern Pacific Ocean.HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

What created the booming noise has puzzled 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 Lab told Insider via email that in 2011 — after gathering all the data — the agency was able to definitively explain what bloop was.

The official ruling: It was the sound of an ice quake, 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 told Wired in 2012. “Every year there are tens of thousands of what we call “ice quakes” created by the cracking and melting of sea ice and ice calving from glaciers in the ocean, and these signals are very similar in character to bloop.”

Cracks in an iceberg floating in Disko Bay, Ilulissat, West Greenland, June 30, 2022.

Cracks in an iceberg floating in Disko Bay, Ilulissat, West Greenland, June 30, 2022.ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

The icebergs that generated the bloop were most likely between the Bransfield Strait in Antarctica and the Ross Sea, or Cape Adare, according to NOAA.

Icequakes occur when glaciers fracture in the ocean, causing the ice to crack. The sudden crackle produces a loud pop or booming sound. With climate change, NOAA warns that ice quakes are becoming more frequent.

Rising global temperatures are melting glacial ice, creating water that can freeze again to cause an ice quake.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *