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Scientists have discovered the truth behind the Bermuda Triangle disappearances

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Nick Pope
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The Bermuda Triangle: a legendary patch of sea more mysterious than the three dots of an unsent text message from your crush, and more terrifying than when they disappear.

Situated in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, the shady shape's infamy comes from the fact that a number of aircraft and ships have vanished over the area under mysterious circumstances.

Conspiracy theorists have cooked up all manner of explanations; from UFOs, to time warps, to renegade pirates who use the ‘Devil’s Triangle’ as a hunting ground.

Related: The 20 weirdest unsolved mysteries

But it turns out that scientists may have discovered the real reason behind the disappearances – and it's disappointingly alien-free.

Giant underwater craters up to half a mile wide and 150ft deep have been discovered at the bottom of Barents Sea, believed to have been caused by methane build-ups off the coast of Norway.

Scientists say that the methane would have leaked from natural gas deposits and created cavities which finally give way and burst.

'Multiple giant craters exist on the sea floor in an area in the west-central Barents Sea ... and are probably a cause of enormous blowouts of gas,' researchers from the Arctic University of Norway told the Sunday Times.

'The crater area is likely to represent one of the largest hot spots for shallow marine methane release in the Arctic.'

Scientist Igor Yeltsov, deputy head of the Trofimuk Institue, said last year: "There is a version that the Bermuda Triangle is a consequence of gas hydrates reactions. They start to actively decompose with methane ice turning into gas. It happens in an avalanche-like way, like a nuclear reaction, producing huge amounts of gas. That makes the ocean heat up and ships sink in its waters mixed with a huge proportion of gas."

Which all sounds very fair, and plausible, and likely, but still: it doesn't feature any pirates or aliens. So shut up scientists - squares don't belong in our triangle (see below for a much more likely mockup of what actually happens).

(Images: Shutterstock)