Of Bloops and Icequakes

Folks who have been on the internet for a while are probably familiar with the Bloop, an “ultra-low frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997.” It’s been the source of some puzzlement and speculation and OMG IT’S CTHULHU!!!

Anyway, via Doubtful News, the VENTS program at NOAA is venturing an opinion, both to the nature of the sound and probably location from which it originated:

The broad spectrum sounds recorded in the summer of 1997 are consistent with icequakes generated by large icebergs as they crack and fracture. NOAA hydrophones deployed in the Scotia Sea detected numerous icequakes with spectrograms very similar to “Bloop”. The icequakes were used to acoustically track iceberg A53a as it disintegrated near South Georgia Island in early 2008. Icequakes are of sufficient amplitude to be detected on multiple sensors at a range of over 5000 km. Based on the arrival azimuth, the iceberg(s) generating “Bloop” most likely were between Bransfield Straits and the Ross Sea, or possibly at Cape Adare, a well know source of cryogenic signals.

I don’t know if you can really solve a question like this, maybe the deep ones just sound a lot like icequakes, but I think this should put a damper on some of the sillier speculation.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I thought “bloop” was the past tense of bleep.

  • kessy_athena

    LOL Silly Vorjack, do you really think a little thing like a conventional explanation is going to deter anyone whose mind immediately jumps to Cthulhu? In any case, my (very limited) understanding is that icequakes are not uncommon in the Southern Ocean, and the Bloop was unusual, if for no other reason then simply for its volume. So I’m left wondering if the Bloop was an icequake, what made it unusual?

  • http://reasondecrystallized.blogspot.com Andrew

    “I think this should put a damper on some of the sillier speculation.”

    I think that anyone who’s been on the internet a while knows that facts never managed to put a stop to silly speculation.

    • UrsaMinor

      Indeed. Using facts to counter internet speculation is about as productive as using kerosene to fight a fire.

  • James Chambers

    I’m fairly sure this is just another thing “the gays” are responsible for…

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Speaking of silly internet speculation:
    Bizarre muppet-like beast discovered

    • UrsaMinor

      You should question the veracity of any article that claims there are dense jungles in Namibia.

      • kessy_athena

        That and the fact that the Herald Sun is a Murdoch owned tabloid…

        Maybe saying it was supposed to be in Namibia was a just a typo, and they actually meant Nebraska. After all, we all know about the vast unexplored jungles there…

        • UrsaMinor

          I’ve never explored any jungles in Nebraska or even flown over the state, so it seems totally plausible to me that there might be an unexplored jungle there teeming with feral Muppets.

  • vasaroti

    This is far too silly a sound to issue forth from Cthullu, for he is gravitas and despair incarnate.

    I thought maybe it was a giant methane bubble, or some other gas rising from an oceanic vent.


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