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What caused the planes in the Bermuda triangle to go down?
Question Date: 2005-11-28
Answer 1:

The mystery of the Bermuda triangle is a mystery. No one is quite sure what exactly makes aircraft and sea vessels disappear there.

So first, a little about the Bermuda triangle. This is accepted to be the area between Bermuda, Miami, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. A couple of factors may contribute to this mystery. The first is that this area is one of two known areas on the earth where a compass points towards 'true' north and not 'magnetic' north as we normally see with compasses. (The second area is a located off the east coast of Japan). The difference between true and magnetic north can be as much as 20 degrees. This difference if not accounted for can really mess up a pilot or sailor's navigation getting them very lost somewhere on the sea. This may seem to be a bigger deal for the aircraft which may run out of fuel as they try to get back on track, leading to a crash into the ocean.

Another factor that can cause trouble in the Bermuda triangle is the patterns of the Gulf Stream. The Gulf meets the Caribbean Sea, meets the Atlantic Ocean and can cause a rough body of water as well as unpredictable storms causing major problems for boats.

It is known that more recent disappearances of boats are boats that are just too small to be traveling across this area in the first place. It should be known that there are many boats and aircraft that do travel through the Bermuda triangle safely.

Answer 2:

A website which is no longer active, posted the following, what they claim to be an official Coast Guard response to inquiries about the Bermuda Triangle:

The "Bermuda Triangle," or "Devils Triangle," is a mythical geographic area located off the southeastern coast of the United States that is noted for an apparent high incidence of unexplained losses of ships, small boats and aircraft. The apexes of the Triangle are generally accepted to be Bermuda, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In the past, extensive but futile Coast Guard searches, prompted by search and rescue cases such as the disappearance of an entire squadron of TBM Avengers shortly after take-off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1945), or the sinking of the Marine Sulphur Queen in the Florida Straits (1963), have lent credence to popular belief in the mysterious and supernatural qualities of the "Bermuda Triangle."

Countless theories attempting to explain the many disappearances have been offered throughout the history of the area. The most reasonable seem to be citing human errors and environmental factor. The majority of disappearances can be attributed to the area's unique features.

The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current flowing from the Gulf of Mexico around the Florida Straits northeastward toward Europe, is extremely swift and turbulent. It can quickly erase any evidence of a disaster.

The unpredictable Caribbean-Atlantic storms that give birth to waves of great size as well as waterspouts often spell disaster for pilots and mariners. The topography of the ocean floor varies from extensive shoals to some of the deepest marine trenches in the world. With the interaction of strong currents over reefs, the topography is in a constant state of flux and breeds development of new navigational hazards.

Not to be underestimated is the human factor. A large number of pleasure boats travel the water between Florida's Gold Coast (the most densely populated area in the world) and the Bahamas. All to often, crossings are attempted with too small a boat, insufficient knowledge of the area's hazards and lack of good seamanship.

Many explanations have cited unusual magnetic properties within the boundaries of the Triangle. Although the world's magnetic fields are in constant flux, the "Bermuda Triangle" has remained relatively undisturbed. It is true that some exceptional magnetic values have been reported within the Triangle, but none to make the Triangle more unusual than any other place on earth.

I personally have spent about 4 months doing underwater research in the Exumas at the southern edge of the Bermuda Triangle, and I can attest to the amazing speed with which massive thunder and lightning storms and violent waterspouts can form and sweep past the area. I can also attest to the large number of pleasure boats with inexperienced and/or irresponsible captains or skippers in the area.

Another important point is that any serious navigator of an aircraft or oceangoing vessel will have in their possession, be very familiar with, and carefully use proper navigation charts that indicate the difference between magnetic north (what the compass probably reads) and true north (what the map shows) at any given location. If this difference is zero, then the navigation should be very easy and no changes will need to be made to steer a true heading using a magnetic compass. However, wherever this difference is not zero, competent pilots and captains should know exactly how to deal with these differences to navigate and steer accordingly. Also, these charts will indicate any locations with anomalous magnetic fields that might throw off the accuracy of the magnetic compass, informing a navigator and pilot what areas to steer clear from or where they cannot rely on their compass as a navigational aid.

As an aside, contrary to what another scientist claimed, magnetic compasses /always /point towards magnetic north /unless/ there is a local magnetic field that is causing the compass to veer away from magnetic north. Such local magnetic fields can be caused by iron, nickel, or cobalt deposits in nearby islands or by the iron (in steel) in the body of the vessel itself (for example, I believe San Clemente Island off the coast of San Diego has large metal ore deposits that cause magnetic compasses to be inaccurate in its vicinity, and all steel ships have slightly inaccurate magnetic compasses due to the iron in their hull).

Magnetic north coincides with true north when you are located on the same longitude line as magnetic north or 180 degrees from this longitude, and when you are at a lower latitude, or south of magnetic north (magnetic north is at about 104 degrees W in the Canadian Arctic Ocean).

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