When horror legend HP Lovecraft first said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” he was well aware of the mysteries surrounding the darkest regions of the ocean. Nowhere on Earth is more vastly unexplored or mysterious than the deep reaches of that universe hiding beneath innocently rolling waves. And so when scientists witnessed a curious sound emerging from it from an unknown source, they soon felt that chilling grip of fear.
The “Bloop” as it is known today is one of the eeriest mysteries of the ocean. When it was first recorded in 1997 by the NOAA, it was big – far too big to be heard normally. The long drawn out sound had to be sped up sixteen times before it was appropriate for public ears. The sound originated from somewhere beyond the southern tip of South America using military equipment designed to trace the movements of military vehicles. But the origin of this sound, which was thought to be organic, would have to have been far larger than even the largest known submarine. And it was alive.
The bloop was recorded on several NOAA sensors, and analyzed by the NOAA’s Christopher Fox. Fox suggested that the sound might have possibly been the result of a massive iceberg breaking off and falling into the ocean, but that theory has seen some critical responses over the years.
What is there far beneath the ocean waiting to be discovered for the first time by the most adventurous sea teams? What could possibly be so large as to make the extremely vocal Blue Whale sound like a pin drop by comparison? Lovecraft illustrated the mystery of the unexplored reaches of the Earth, history, and human consciousness in the form of ancient creatures that existed physically beneath the waves and hidden in the non-euclidian geometry of their idols. Just as mankind was beginning to finally map and chart the final continents on the surface, the vast reaches of the sea below remained a mystery unparalleled.
Only 30% of the Earth’s surface is not hidden by the sea. And of the remaining 70%, the water covering it makes even more space for things to hide in. While sonar and other techniques have attempted with limited success to explore these mysteries, even today less than 10% of the ocean has been explored by humans.
Most of the ocean is made up by the “deep sea.” Somewhere between 500,000 and 50,000,000 species are thought to exist in this space that have not yet been discovered. Legends have for centuries talked of mysterious creatures living beneath the waves. Is it possible the “bloop” was made by one of them?
Even if space exploration is temporarily on hiatus for the moment, there is plenty of exploration space beneath the ocean that has still been left undisturbed. And very much like the deepest reaches of space, there are enigmas in the ocean as well.