From Florida to Puerto Rico, the tiny island of Bermuda lies in a triangle of doom. Well, it’s a triangle of doom if you subscribe to the idea of the Bermuda Triangle, a strange part of the Atlantic Ocean where ships, airplanes, and people disappear without a trace. If you don’t, it’s just the Sargasso Sea, a totally normal part of the Atlantic Ocean that occasionally sees some bad weather.
A lot of explanations for disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle have popped up since the geographic feature was included in a 1964 pulp fiction magazine. Aliens, Atlantis, magnetic variations, the Gulf Stream, methane bubbles, and weird weather have all been proposed. A new theory, presented with ominous music on the Science Channel, wonders if hexagonal cloud formations are evidence of “air bombs” that blast the ocean’s surface with enough force to generate 45-foot waves and 100 mph winds.
A meteorologist interviewed for the Science Channel’s show What On Earth? argues these hexagonal clouds, spotted in a NASA satellite image, are similar to clouds spotted in the North Sea, near the British Isles. Up in the North Sea, these cloud formations were linked to 100 mph winds and huge waves. The meteorologist describes them as microbursts, powerful downdrafts that typically happen during thunderstorms.
But a few red hexagons drawn on a satellite image don’t mean a whole lot. Weather in the North Sea is dramatically different from weather in the Bahamas. For one thing, the North Sea is a lot colder. These hexagonal clouds also probably aren’t microbursts. “You would normally have one large to extremely large thunderstorm that wouldn’t have an opening in the middle,” said Kevin Corriveau, a meteorologist at NBC.
The problem with theories about the Bermuda Triangle is they all try to solve a mystery that doesn’t exist. The Bermuda Triangle isn’t any more dangerous than the rest of the ocean, other than the occasional hurricane that rolls through. But new theories will keep popping up, ready for debunking, because we can’t prove a negative.
We can’t prove there isn’t something fishy going on in this area of the Atlantic. There’s no way to know which explanation will come up next, but it will almost certainly be as wrong as this “air bomb” theory.