Support Aeon

‘Aeon provides me with high-quality, stimulating and unique content, and this deserves my support.’

Neda M, Australia, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Support Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Support Aeon

The bloop

7 minutes

How oceanographers captured a mysterious undersea noise – and the public’s imagination

‘I’m glad there’s still some mysteries out there.’

In 1997, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded an ultra-low frequency, minute-long sound located 1,500 miles off the coast of Chile. The extraordinarily powerful noise was picked up by underwater hydrophones some 1,800 miles apart, and was eventually deemed to be neither man-made nor attributable to any known deep-sea animal. Nicknamed ‘the Bloop’, this mysterious sound was never heard again, becoming a curiosity for scientists and a springboard for wide-ranging theories for the general public for many years to come. However, following surveys conducted between 2005 and 2010, NOAA scientists determined that the sound was consistent with the rupture of a massive Antarctic ice sheet. In this short documentary from the US director Cara Cusumano, the retired NOAA oceanographer Christopher Fox recalls his experience with ‘the Bloop’, including how it went from a scientific concern to a rare science story that captured the public imagination.

Director: Cara Cusumano


Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like
Essay/
Technology & the Self
The quantified heart

Artificial intelligence promises ever more control over the highs and lows of our emotions. Uneasy? Perhaps you should be

Polina Aronson & Judith Duportail

Essay/
Future of Technology
Do platforms work?

The distributed network has gobbled the hierarchical firm. Only by seizing the platform can workers avoid digital serfdom

George Zarkadakis