For me, there’s nothing more terrifying than the thought of the unknown – particularly at the bottom of the ocean.
Swimming along without any knowledge of what’s swimming underneath you gives me the chills; literally anything could be beneath the surface!
So you can imagine my pure panic at the thought of something gigantic whistling at the bottom of the ocean, which is exactly what appears to be happening in the Caribbean sea.
A team of researchers came across the ‘whistling’ on an expedition recently, when their equipment picked up a low-pitch sound way beyond the hearing range of humans.
As per IFL Science, whatever’s producing the noise is so ‘huge and mobile’ it’s actually generating waves in Earth’s gravitational field.
A team of researchers, led by the University of Liverpool, were conducting an expedition to the Atlantic Ocean-based Caribbean sea (which covers an area of approximately 1.1 million square miles) in the hope that they could study the dynamic sea currents within the basin.
However, researchers soon came across something they described as a ‘whistle’ in an A-flat note.
Writing in Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers describe how their instrumentation picked up something which sounded similar to a ‘whistle’.
Initially, it was unclear whether the noise was coming from something living or from another natural process, but researchers knew that the source of the noise was something sizeable.
Further research led the team to believe that the noise was not coming from anything living (i.e. the next Loch Ness Monster), but was, in fact, coming from waves that were hidden in plain sight.
As explained in the journal, large waves in the basin sometimes move to the west; these inevitably interact with the seafloor. This deflects the wave, which then fades out on the western boundary and appears on the eastern section of the basin.
As these waves interact, they amplify which results in the water moves in and out of the basin every 120 days, with the wave pattern producing a clear A-flat note – many octaves below the range of human hearing.
This huge amount of water moving back and forth changes the local gravitational field, which can then be detected beyond Earth’s upper atmosphere.
Chris Hughes, a professor in Sea Level Science at the University of Liverpool, said in a statement:
We can compare the ocean activity in the Caribbean Sea to that of a whistle. When you blow into a whistle, the jet of air becomes unstable and excites the resonant sound wave which fits into the whistle cavity.
Because the whistle is open, the sound radiates out so you can hear it.
Luckily not a giant sea monster then, although I’d still rather not hedge my bets…
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).