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What Makes Compasses Go Haywire In Bermuda?

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The Science Channel’s new series ‘Mysteries of the Missing,’ hosted by Emmy-winning actor Terry O’Quinn recently featured Bermuda in their seventh episode titled ‘Curse of the Bermuda Triangle.’

The episode begins with an interview with Dr Philippe Rouja, Bermuda’s Custodian of Historic Wrecks.

The host notes that while inspecting Bermuda’s wrecks, Dr Rouja regularly experiences “a strange and dangerous phenomenon” where all his compasses malfunction.

Dr Rouja explains: “When we go diving we have to be really careful in this particular area as it’s one of those spots where we cannot rely on our instruments at all. This is a place where, depending on the certain zone, our compasses will all show different readings.

“And this isn’t the only spot that this happens I can totally relate to the experience of looking down at your instruments and going ‘that doesn’t feel right’ and ‘one’s not even showing the same as that one.’”

So what is causing these weird compass readings?

The episode looks towards Bermuda’s volcanic history for answers suggesting that our “violent volcanic past could be the key to unlocking the mystery.”

Geologist Dr. Robbie Smith explains that the remnants of the volcano, which have been detected up to two hundred miles from Bermuda, “contain a very high content of iron that gives it really unusual magnetic properties that influence ships’ compasses.”

Minerals Prospector Nick Hutchings adds, “What we have is a 500-foot thick matter that’s between 18 and 20 percent magnetite. Magnetite is the most magnetic naturally occurring substance on earth. There are about 500 billion tons around Bermuda, so it’s not inconceivable to think that that much magnetite could affect the compasses of ships and possibly even airplanes that are traveling through or near Bermuda.”

The magnetite allegedly alters Hutchings’s compass direction by 10 degrees.

Thus the series suggests that these magnetic forces are perhaps responsible for the many disappearances in the infamous Bermuda Triangle.

For more information on the new Science Channel series visit their website here.

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