Bermuda Triangle

Bermuda Triangle : is also known as the "Devil's Triangle".  It is an imaginary geographical area, which is located off the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States, and bears some resemblance to a triangle.  A Bermuda Triangle Fact Sheet which was prepared by the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters and Naval Historical Centre, states that: 

"The U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not recognize the Bermuda Triangle as an official name and does not maintain an official file on the area".

The apexes of the triangle are generally accepted to be Bermuda, Miami, Fla., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The area became infamous because of ' a high incidence of unexplained losses of ships, small boats, and aircraft'.  Some of the more famous cases of loss over the area include:

1).  The disappearance of an entire squadron of TBM Avengers shortly after take off from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
2).  The traceless sinking of USS Cyclops and the Marine Sulphur Queen

Similar, extensive and futile search and rescue cases have since led to a popular belief that the area known as the "Bermuda Triangle" exhibits mysterious and supernatural qualities. However, the Coast Guard is reported as being not particularly impressed with such supernatural explanations of disasters at sea. 'It has been their experience that the combined forces of nature and unpredictability of mankind outdo even the most far fetched science fiction many times each year'.

The Bermuda Triangle Fact Sheet goes on to suggest that environmental factors may have an important part to play in the loss of vessels:

'The majority of disappearances can be attributed to the area's unique environmental features. First, the "Devil's Triangle" is one of the two places on earth that a magnetic compass does point towards true north. Normally it points toward magnetic north. The difference between the two is known as compass variation. The amount of variation changes by as much as 20 degrees as one circumnavigates the earth. If this compass variation or error is not compensated for, a navigator could find himself far off course and in deep trouble.

An area called the "Devil's Sea" by Japanese and Filipino seamen, located off the east coast of Japan, also exhibits the same magnetic characteristics. It is also known for its mysterious disappearances.

Another environmental factor is the character of the Gulf Stream. It is extremely swift and turbulent and can quickly erase any evidence of a disaster. The unpredictable Caribbean-Atlantic weather pattern also plays its role. Sudden local thunder storms and water spouts often spell disaster for pilots and mariners. Finally, the topography of the ocean floor varies from extensive shoals around the islands to some of the deepest marine trenches in the world. With the interaction of the strong currents over the many reefs the topography is in a state of constant flux and development of new navigational hazards is swift.

Not to be under estimated is the human error factor. A large number of pleasure boats travel the waters between Florida's Gold Coast and the Bahamas. All too often, crossings are attempted with too small a boat, insufficient knowledge of the area's hazards, and a lack of good seamanship'.

Although the fact sheet does not pertain to know of any maps that delineate the boundaries of the Bermuda Triangle; it does point out that there are general area maps available through the Distribution Control Department, U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, Washington, D.C. 20390.  It goes on to suggest that the "Aeromagnetic Charts of the U.S. Coastal Region," H.O. Series 17507, 15 sheets. Numbers 9 through 15 which cover the "Bermuda Triangle", may be of use to those interested in the more mysterious aspect of the area. 

Useful Links
US Coast Guard and US Navy "Bermuda Triangle Fact Sheet"  
Exorcising the Devil's Triangle  
Loss of Flight 19   
The Bermuda Triangle: A Selective Bibliography 
USS Cyclops history    

Bermuda Triangle update - Listen to Karyn discussing The Bermuda Triangle on Talk Radio in Liverpool - The Margi Clarke Show (mp3 format).


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