"Argggh, don't be goin' in that tharr Bermuda Triangle, less ye want to end up in Davey Jones' Locker!" A sentence an able seaman might say to you if you told him you were thinking of charting a course straight for the feared region of the Atlantic Ocean - and also if you lived several centuries ago.
The Triangle covers a 500,000km square mile distance between Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda and has allegedly claimed over 1,000 lives, along with hundreds of planes and ships over the last 100 years. This astonishingly high rate of incident has, thus far, defied scientific explanation and has meant the stretch of sea being the subject of numerous paranormal and extra-terrestrial conspiracies.
Legends of the Triangle's notoriety date back to old Christopher Columbus, who on passing through in 1492, noticed that his compass no longer pointed due north, giving baffling readings instead. This sudden, mysterious disturbance in vital navigational instruments has long been the proposed cause of the disappearances, but meteorologists on Science Channel’s 'What on Earth?' have proposed a new theory...
Utilising satellite imagery, they noted the formation of 'hexagonal' shaped clouds of 20 to 50 miles wide over the Triangle.
"These types of hexagonal shapes over the ocean are in essence, 'air bombs,''' Dr. Randy Cerveny explains. "They're formed by what are called microbursts. They're blasts of air that come down out of the bottom of the clouds and hit the ocean, and they create waves that can sometimes be massive in size once they start to interact with each other."
They suggest these 'air bombs' could create 170mph winds - enough to bring down a plane and sink a ship, neither of which particularly conducive for those respective vessel's survival. They compare the hexagons with those in the North Sea, which experiences microbursts that can create sea level-winds up to 100 mph and waves of 45 feet. Mystery solved!
Well, actually, NBC meteorologist Kevin Corriveau is less convinced, noting the disparities in the two locations' geography and arguing: "When I look at a hexagonal cloud shape in the Bahamas, this is not the cloud signature of what a microburst looks like... You would normally have one large to extremely large thunderstorm that wouldn't have an opening in the middle...I wouldn't say what we're seeing in the Bahamas is the exact same as in the North Sea."
Mystery unsolved. Sorry.