New World Mystery: Bermuda Triangle
By: Neha Kodali and Madison Perry (2nd Period)
The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle, is an area of ocean with many mystical qualities. It is roughly bounded by Puerto Rico, Bermuda, and Miami and covers around 50,000 square miles. Within this area, dozens of ships and airplanes have mysteriously disappeared.
The first “incident” reported in the Bermuda Triangle was noted by none other that Christopher Columbus, who was sailing to what he assumed to be Asia on his first voyage in 1492. When Christopher Columbus sailed through the area, he reported that a great flame of fire that had crashed into the sea one night and that a strange light appeared in the distance a few weeks later. Now days, most people believe that this was just a meteorite crashing into the ocean, but was it?
A more modern example includes a group of pilots of a squadron of U.S. Navy bombers that had become disoriented while flying over the Bermuda Triangle. No one is sure of exactly what happened, and to add to the suspense, his planes were never found. Other boats and planes have also seemingly vanished from the area in good weather without even radioing distress messages.
Another account of mystery was on December 28, 1948. On this date, a Douglas DC-3 aircraft disappeared while on a flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Miami, Florida. Once again the plane was never sighted. There were also 32 passengers on the flight, who unfortunately disappeared and were not found, along with the aircraft.
Throughout the course of hundreds of years, numerous accounts of unexplained disappearance has occurred in the area of the Bermuda Triangle. Some people assume that it is simply coincidence, and that nothing irrational is happening, but there are those who believe in the extraordinary. So the question is, what really goes on in the dreaded Bermuda Triangle?
Theories and Explanations
In short, a disaster is just waiting to happen, and judging from the Triangle's history, it wouldn't be the first.
Another theory has to do with the crazy weather patterns in the region. The tropical skies over the Bermuda Triangle are prone to intense, severe storms as warm and cold air masses collide over the ocean. The Triangle is in the middle of hurricane alley. Adding to that, there is the swift-moving Gulf Stream that cuts right through the Triangle. This makes it very difficult territory for both ships and planes. To add another level of mystery to the legend, take the underwater terrain. It's rugged and deep, and is home to the Puerto Rico trench, the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean. It's hard to find anything that does wreck in that region. Between the depth and the currents, wreckage is long gone or as some might say, it's "just disappeared."
One of the other commonly believed theories is that the magnetic fields are askew. There have been widespread myths about compasses in the Bermuda Triangle spinning wildly out of control. Legend has held that the Bermuda Triangle is one of the only two places on Earth where compasses point towards true north, as opposed to the magnetic north.
Now, navigators know that a compass must be calibrated to compensate for the deviation depending on the location on the globe. While the Bermuda Triangle was once, during the 19th century, a place where a compass pointed true north with no variation, the Earth's magnetic field is constantly changing, and along with it, compasses vary. These days, the Bermuda Triangle does not sit in any kind of strange magnetic area, and pilots and sailors know well to adjust their compasses to compensate for the variation, called declination, between magnetic north and true north. There are plenty of charts to help them out with that.
- "Bermuda Triangle Map." America Down Under. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <http://www.americandownunder.com/phantom/BermudaSouth/images/bermuda_triangle_usa.gif>.
- "Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle Video." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 16 Dec. 2014. <http://www.history.com/topics/bermuda-triangle/videos/mysteries-of-the-bermuda-triangle>.
"The "Mystery" of the Bermuda Triangle." The UnMuseum. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.unmuseum.org/triangle.htm>.
- "Top 10 Bermuda Triangle Theories : Science Channel." Science Channel. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.sciencechannel.com/life-earth-science/10-bermuda-triangle-theories.htm>.