Bermuda Triangle Theories; On Anniversary Of Famous USS Cyclops Disappearance, Science Asks, Why?

By iScienceTimes Staff on March 6, 2013 9:38 AM EST

Bermuda triangle
The waters of the Bermuda triangle can look as tranquil as any paradise found on land or sea. (Photo: Imgur)

The Bermuda triangle is an area of the Atlantic Ocean between Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda that has seen dozens of mysterious disappearances over the last 500 years. The Bermuda triangle was rumored to be observed by Christopher Columbus in 1492, who reported seeing strange lights in the region. His compass was also malfunctioning while he sailed through the triangle. Of the numerous disappearances in the Bermuda triangle region none are more famous than the USS Cyclops, a Navy ship that vanished in the troubled waters 95 years ago.

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According to Wikipedia:

USS Cyclops (AC-4) was one of four Proteus-class colliers built for the United States Navy several years before World War I. Named for the Cyclops, a primordial race of giants from Greek mythology, she was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name. The loss of the ship and 306 crew and passengers without a trace within the area known as the Bermuda Triangle some time after 4 March 1918 remains the single largest loss of life in U.S. Naval history not directly involving combat. As it was wartime, there was speculation she was captured or sunk by a German raider or submarine, because she was carrying 10,800 long tons (11,000 t) of manganese ore used to produce munitions, but German authorities at the time, and subsequently, denied any knowledge of the vessel. The Naval History & Heritage Command has stated she "probably sank in an unexpected storm" but the cause is unknown.

On the anniversary of the USS Cyclops disappearance in the Bermuda triangle scientists and conspiracy theorists often ask: Why? is the Bermuda triangle really a supernatural phenomenon or is it just naval folklore? Here are some of the prevailing theories that attempt to explain the mystery surrounding the Bermuda triangle.

Human Error

This theory is the most pragmatic of the bunch. Quite simply, theorists and researchers often attribute the disappearances to human error, saying that nothing out of the ordinary occurs in the triangle and that it is one of many places that boats and planes can wreck in the ocean. According to a website run by the U.S. Navy: "Many thousands of ships have sunk and/or disappeared in waters around the world due to navigational and other human errors, storms, piracy, fires, and structural/mechanical failures. Aircraft are subject to the same problems, and many of them have crashed at sea around the globe. Often, there were no living witnesses to the sinking or crash, and hence the exact cause of the loss and the location of the lost ship or aircraft are unknown. A large number of pleasure boats travel the waters between Florida and the Bahamas. All too often, crossings are attempted with too small a boat, insufficient knowledge of the area's hazards, and a lack of good seamanship."

Wild Weather

This theory about the Bermuda triangle is recognized by the U.S. Navy as the most probable explanation for the high amount of accidents that have occurred there over the years. The tropical skies over the Bermuda Triangle are prone to intense, severe storms as warm and cold air masses collide over the ocean. It is frequently on the path of hurricanes throughout the year. The swift-moving Gulf Stream cuts right through the Triangle, and you've got some very difficult territory for both ships and planes. To add another level of mystery to the legend, just take the underwater terrain: It's rugged and deep, and is home to the Puerto Rico trench, the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean.

Time Vortex

In 1970, Floridian pilot Bruce Gernon and his father were en route from Andros Island to Bimini Island in the Bahamas when they came across a strange cloud that they say grew exponentially before morphing into a tunnel. His navigational equipment began to go haywire so Gernon took a chance and flew into the growing electrical maelstrom. When the fog finally broke up, Gernon says he found himself miles away from where he expected to be -- and much farther than he could have traveled in that time, leading him to believe he had passed through a time travel tunnel.

Methane Gas

There are large pockets of methane gas trapped beneath the ocean surface, some of which are found in the Bermuda triangle region. If this gas gets released, water density in that area can reduce significantly and the frothy water can no longer provide the buoyancy required to keep a ship afloat.  Since methane is highly flammable it is believed that pockets in the Bermuda triangle not only sink ships, but engulf them in flames as well.

The fact remains that no one knows for sure what, if anything, is the cause behind so many unexplained disappearances in the Bermuda triangle. IT could be nothing, just a place where pilots and sailors have crashed over the years due to any number of the perils that face travelers on the open sea. Or it could be a natural oddity like methane gas bubbles or a confluence of strong weather patterns. It could be something supernatural or extraterrestrial, too. We simply don't know, and based on the astounding number of books and websites dedicated to the theories, it looks like we don't really want to know that whole truth anytime soon.

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