The ‘Bloop’ mystery solved!

Frequently cited as an “insane mystery science hasn’t solved”, the bloop looks to have a reasonable explanation. Was it a mystery monster squid as most commonly thought? Sadly, no.

First some background in case you haven’t heard about the bloop: Skeptoid

It came from the depths of the South Pacific. Throughout the summer of 1997, a sound never before recorded burst from the abyss. News agencies scrambled; was this some new leviathan, an unknown monster from the deep? Nobody knew, and though this recording has taken its place among the permanent fixtures of the museums of the strange, the Bloop has never been identified.

Until now.

Acoustics Monitoring Program – Icequakes (Bloop).

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”.

They have even identified the probable location.

More: A collection of sounds from the sea.

Tip: Matt Crowley

UPDATE: This post has gotten very high hits. Many commenters at various sites have revelled in railing on how this is NOT news. Well, as a follower of strange natural phenomena, and one who wished this ACTUALLY WAS the sound of an unknown animal, this was the first I’d heard of this information. It apparently the first time it was posted in this format on the NOAA account. So, it’s news to a LOT of people.

  28 comments for “The ‘Bloop’ mystery solved!

  1. November 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Am I the only one left somewhat disappointed by this discovery?

  2. November 19, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    So, there is no reference for information on the site. When did it change?

  3. idoubtit
    November 19, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    I don’t understand your comment. What site? What information?

  4. oldebabe
    November 19, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Exactly, i.e. what is this story/site about? Bloops? Some kind of noises? What are we talking about here?

    You’re kidding, right?

  5. idoubtit
    November 19, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Wait… you guys don’t know about The Bloop? Please click the Skeptoid link I put there. That explains it.

  6. Chew
    November 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    I had never heard of icequakes before I read this so I am not disappointed.

  7. November 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Click on the Skeptoid link Sharon provided at the beginning of the article, and all will become clear.

  8. November 19, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Who’s this Bigfoot fellow then? 😉

  9. November 19, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    I’m not usually one to get disappointed by disillusionment, but I was hoping it would be something more interesting than the sound of ice cracking.

  10. Vin
    November 19, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    waah? I don’t get it…….either you need to read the page again or your net connection is fritzing….You’ve never heard of the Bloop? Click the link to the Skeptoid page on it….that brilliant site will fill you in with everything you need to know ;D….

  11. spookyparadigm
    November 19, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    You link to the NOAA page, which has had an entry on the bloop for some time. At one point, it did not authoritatively claim ice calving as a possible explanation (though it had been raised). Now it does. It references another event, but that’s all the site does (no actual comparison, no pointing to a paper or report on the other event). Which doesn’t seem terribly useful either at informing people, or at putting this to rest.

  12. idoubtit
    November 19, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    This was the first I’d heard of this explanation so it’s news. It might have been known for a long while but this is the first time it’s been noted on their website.

    The Skeptoid page has now been updated with the new info as well.

    Hopefully this no longer will appear as a “mystery”.

  13. November 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM


    I was really wishing it was Cthulhu.

  14. spookyparadigm
    November 19, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Well no, I’d never heard of it either. Since it’s kind of a well known thing, I guess I’d expect more (not from you, but the source) than “well, actually it’s this, not this, so there.”

  15. spookyparadigm
    November 19, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    The bloop being well known, not this new and vaguely sourced at the NOAA page hypothesis regarding it.

  16. Julian Penrod
    November 20, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    This may not be printed because it is critical of the attitude of the website and, in fact, proves that it is illegitimate and misleading.
    Note the title of the article trumpeting, “The ‘Bloop’ mystery solved!” Yet, look to the actual information provided in the article. In fact, despite the title, which can mislead the cursory reader, and may be intended to, the mystery has not been solved! The “research” only claims that “icequakes” are offered as a possible answer!
    They claim the “broad spectrum sounds recorded” “are consistent with icequakes generated by large icebergs as they crack and fracture”. Among other things, there is no indication the “Bloop” sound was “road spectrum”! If you wanted to pretend something had a different source, you could include it among a large amount of other known phenomenon and claim it is part of the alrger set. There are many sounds in the ocean and a number are claimed understood. So, to pretend a phenomenon came from something else, simply include the strange phenomenon as among a “broad spectrum” of other phenomena and claim that it came from the same source as the others.
    But note that they only say that the “Bloop” sound was “consistent with” the sound from “icequakes”! They did not even say it was identical to that noice, or that actual “icequakes” took place at the moment the “Bloop” sound was launched!
    And note among the most condemnatory facets of the situation. The “Bloop” sound was admittedly unusual and unknown. Certainly, no immedate solution was offered. And the article itself quotes from Skeptoid, the “Bloop” was ” a sound never before recorded”. Supposedly, “icequakes” occur all the time. Certainly, they are talking about them as well known and at least fairly well understood. So why is it that the sound was one “never before recorded”?
    In fact, the “Bloop” was not solved, despite what this article and other “skeptics” say. And, while this may not be printed because of this, this article comes across as just another craven case of deliberate misinformation.

  17. idoubtit
    November 20, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    I disagree with your interpretation. That the sounds are consistent with ice quakes is a scientific way of looking at things. How could they have known that an icequake was taking place at the time? They aren’t monitored as earthquakes are. The icequake explanation is a very good one. A few things were mentioned in various discussions of this topic, namely on the Monster Talk facebook page. First, there was never any good reason to suspect that the sound was organic. That was speculation. Second, it is very possible that this was a long-suspected source of the sounds but just recently made it onto the NOAA website.

    Science hardly ever gives us definitive answers and many mysterious ocean phenomena are still up for explanation. But this is the best answer so far and it was newsworthy. You are certainly free to withhold your conclusions. I, however, find it reasonable and, until some better explanation that suits the evidence comes along, will assume that it is correct.

  18. oldebabe
    November 20, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Ah, now I can sleep at night…

  19. snoma
    November 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    You read the Cracked article too?

  20. November 20, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Actually, they originally triangulated the sound to be coming from somewhere in the middle of the Pacific ocean, in the tropics. There’s no ice there and I do not believe that the sound of an iceberg calving could have made this sound. Further, nearly every expert interviewed at the time was of the opinion that this sound had an organic origin.

    So how do we go from that, to this sudden agreement with a previous potential explanation that they themselves rejected? How do the brains working for the US government, the very epitome of coverup operations, suddenly decide that sounds which were “similar” in nature match the original recording?

    This whole thing stinks of unanswered questions and insufficient explanations.

  21. idoubtit
    November 20, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Who is “they” and who is “every expert” re: organic origin. You need to provide references here because there was much speculation when the sound came out.

    And, puh-leeze, with the coverup crap…

  22. Chew
    November 20, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    It was triangulated to 50S 100W, 3000 km south of the tropics. Experts in the science believe the sound to from icebergs so your uninformed layman’s belief is worthless. Citations needed for the remainder of your claims, including the previous explanation that an icequake was considered and rejected.

  23. Ryan
    November 22, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    Wow, end of an era. Next!

  24. November 22, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    Clearly, this is disinformation by the mad chtulhuist cults.

  25. Jonas
    November 22, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    ICEQUAKES! F*cking ice-quakes! How can you be disappointed?

  26. Wesley
    November 22, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    And you come across as a nutbag conspiracy theorist. By going on and on and about a “broad spectrum” you make it absolutely clear that you have no idea what the term in fact means. And yes, they did not absolutely and categorically state that the noise was caused by icequakes– they simply pointed towards the strong correlation between the phenomenon and the expected acoustic result of icequakes, based on a wide array of data from a cited location.

    Please grow up. This is as close as we can possibly get to identifying the source of the Bloop without a time machine; since it is only technically a theory, much like gravity or relativity, the scientists responsible for this press release are quite correct to leave open the possibility of alternate explanations, even though the strong evidence for their suggestion makes these alternate explanations highly improbable and thus largely irrelevant.

  27. November 22, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    We just did some research on this a couple of weeks ago in putting together an episode for Rocketboom on The Bloop:

    We mentioned in the report this point that it is possible that the sound came from Icequakes. The page you cite was updated earlier this year, but the theory has been considered for awhile. But it is still not conclusive! Nor does the page suggest it is conclusive. Many people suggest the noises match the kinds of sounds that come from animals.

  28. idoubtit
    November 23, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    He has “come across” as that in other replies as well that were not lending any new information to this post. So, Mr. Penrod, this is probably not the right site for you.

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