Is the Bermuda Triangle really so dangerous?
Since the mid-19th century ships have been “disappearing” while in the Bermuda Triangle. One possible explanation: the enormous quantities of frozen methane hydrate buried under the ocean floor, possibly also occurring under the Bermuda Triangle off the Atlantic coast of Florida. The hypothesis: If a large amount of gas rises to the water’s surface all at once, it could tip over a ship. But: The Bermuda Triangle is merely a myth created by a newspaper article in the 1950s and later popularized in the bestselling book written by Charles Berlitz. And besides: Ships are built to handle surface disturbances, so a given ship would have to be seriously listing in order for methane bubbles to impact it.
Is there actually a ghost island where thousands of sailors have died?
Sable Island lies around 120 miles off the east coast of Canada, but no one can say for sure. This ghost island is constantly drifting in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. It moves up to 7 miles from north to south—and up to 19 miles from east to west. That’s caused by giant storms pummeling the often foggy island, and by three competing ocean currents: the Labrador and Saint Lawrence as well as the Gulf Stream. The result: The moving sand bar is the Atlantic’s biggest graveyard for ships. Over the past 400 years, an estimated 350 vessels have run aground, and at least 10,000 sailors have perished in the waves.
Do sinking ships pull swimmers down with them?
The bigger the ship, the faster it sinks. A ship pushes lots of water out of its way as it goes down, but that doesn’t mean it creates a vortex. The greater danger to human life is posed by the rigging and the openings on the ship. People in the water can get caught in the rigging and be pulled down with the sinking ship. Or water could be fl owing quickly into openings in the boat, pulling someone in the water in with it. So: If you find yourself on a sinking ship, get off and into a lifeboat as quickly as possible. If you fall into the water, try to find something to hang on to and stay as far away from the sinking vessel as possible.
Can a volcano forecast its next eruption?
Volcanologists have long known to look for an increase in seismic activity before a volcano erupts, with gas escaping from vents or deformation of the surrounding ground before everything comes to a head. But recently an international team of volcanologists made a surprising discovery: While carefully monitoring Nicaragua’s Telica Volcano, they found there is a period right before an eruption when the volcano goes quiet—a potentially useful occurrence for predicting an impending eruption. Moreover, the longer the period of silence, the larger the amount of energy that will be released when the volcano does finally erupt. The researchers suspect that the silence is the result of vents being sealed off, which prevents gas from escaping. The buildup of pressure results in a more powerful explosion. The team monitored a total of 50 explosions and found that the intervals of silence would last from six minutes up to one that continued for 10 hours and produced the biggest explosion of all. In only two instances was there no quiet period of any kind before an explosion. The researchers hope that the monitoring methods they developed at Telica can be used to help forecast when other volcanoes are about to erupt.