Tag Archives: Underwater acoustics

The Bloop – No Longer a Mystery

23 Mar

The infamously-named ‘Bloop’ refers to to an ultra-low frequency underwater sound that was detected in 1997, by the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The sound was traced to the southern Pacific Ocean and was extremely powerful; far too loud to be a blue whale or some such other large ocean creature that we know of.


For several years, it was considered to be one of the strangest unexplained underwater mysteries in the world, because no one knew what it was. At first, scientists attributed it to the sound of ‘ice calving’, a process that involves enormous chunks of ice breaking away from glaciers or other icy shelves. However, the sound was considered to be more likely to have originated from an animal, because its frequency was more similar to those of other marine animals, only much louder.

So, was it a mistake on the hydrophone (the machine used to monitor marine sounds)? Or, was it indicative of some terrifyingly large monster lurking the depths of the ocean, far larger than we could imagine?

Unfortunately for mystery-lovers, it was neither. Scientists later found that the sound was coming from something called ‘icequakes’; a seismic event caused by movement of glaciers or icebergs. As much as I would have liked to believe that Cthulu was roaming the oceans and finally been recorded, it seems that this mystery can be firmly categorised as solved. You can listen to ‘The Bloop’ on the Wikipedia entry here.

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