Scientists may have solved the enduring mystery of the Bermuda Triangle that has plagued them ever since five US Navy planes that took off from Florida vanished without a trace some 60 years ago.
Researchers at the Arctic University of Norway caused quite a stir this week when they announced that methane gas explosions may be linked to the mystery of the disappearance of ships and people in the Bermuda Triangle.
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Scientists believe that giant craters in the Barents Sea appear to have been caused by the explosive release of methane that was trapped in the sediment below. They are now suggesting that this phenomenon could explain the mysterious Bermuda Triangle, a highly controversial concept.
Such sudden releases of gas could potentially pose a danger to ships, the scientists note. It might also explain reports of missing ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle, a region of ocean bounded by Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. This idea has also been suggested by other experts, such as, Russian scientist Igor Yeltsov, in the last few decades.
In October, National Geographic reported that "methane can escape into the air, making the atmosphere highly turbulent and perhaps causing aircraft to crash."
After US Navy planes disappeared about 60 years ago, historians started looking at records and found that 300 ships and many other planes were lost in the area throughout the 20th century. Christopher Columbus had even recorded bizarre compass bearings around the Triangle on his 1492 voyage.
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There have been a number of conspiracy theories about the Bermuda Triangle, but many experts remain unconvinced it even exists.
"The region is highly traveled and has been a busy crossroads since the early days of European exploration. To say quite a few ships and airplanes have gone down there is like saying there are an awful lot of car accidents on the New Jersey Turnpike—surprise, surprise," John Reilly, a historian with the US Naval Historical Foundation told National Geographic.
In fact, ships and planes “vanish in the Bermuda Triangle as often as they vanish from anywhere else,” scientists have calculated. Skeptics say those vessels lost in the area were more likely downed due to bad weather and chance mishaps than more exotic explanations like gas hydrates.
This article originally appeared on National Geographic.