Scientists Solve the Mystery of Antarctica’s ‘Bloop’ Sound

Ocean noises continue to fascinate.


Scientists Solve the Mystery of Antarctica’s ‘Bloop’ Sound | Ocean noises continue to fascinate.

Ocean sounds are awe inspiring, like the calls of the majestic blue whales. Some ocean sounds are man made, like a submarine in the depths, some are natural occurrences, and some are complete mysteries, like the “bloop.”

For over two decades, this loud rumble, known as the bloop, has confounded scientists and  cultivated imaginations at the same time, reported bnn. But the mystery of the bloop may have been solved.

Discovering the bloop
Researchers monitoring underwater volcanic activity were using an array of hydrophones – listening devices spread across the Pacific Ocean – when they came across a loud rumbling sound that completely baffled them. The sound came to be called the bloop.

Since about 95 percent of the ocean is undiscovered, according to LAD Bible, there are a host of possible explanations. The scientists thought the sound could possibly be military exercises, noise from a ships engine, whale song, or possibly a large undiscovered sea creature like a giant squid.

The sound of the eerie bloop undulates in frequency, reported Science Alert. Since it was detected by two arrays of listening devices over a range of over 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers). For a sound to travel that far, it had to be really loud. Too loud to come from a single sea animal.

The sound, when it was played back also resembled rolling thunder and not something caused by any known sea creature.

The mystery remained unsolved until acoustics tools were spread closer to Antarctica to advance the study of seafloor volcanoes and earthquakes as part of the US’s National  Oceanic and Atmospheric administration’s PMEL’s Acoustics Program.

The findings that were collected from Antarctica between 2005 and 2010 confirmed what scientists suspected, Science Alert reported,  that the bloop was the sound of an Antarctic icequake.

What is an icequake?
An icequake is the cracking and breaking of an iceberg moving away from a glacier. This is happening more and more as a result of global warming’s impact on the ice shelf. In fact, the ice loss in Antarctica is accelerating faster than expected with huge chunks the size of London breaking off and ice quakes are becoming a very frequent occurrence.

 New innovative technologies like underwater satellites and drones have done much more than solve the mystery of the bloop, according to bnn. These tools also play a role in monitoring the effects of humans on marine life like in studying the health of coral reefs.

 As global warming worsens, using this new technology is essential to develop ways to overcome the impact on marine life and to the planet.

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