Aliens, supernatural forces, and the city of Atlantis have all been blamed for the disappearances of planes and ships in the Bermuda Triangle, an area between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Miami. The Bermuda Triangle myth was propelled into the public imagination in the 1950’s and although it was effectively debunked in the 1970’s, has lived on in movies, music, and articles. Now, a Norwegian team’s Arctic research may provide some answers to this tropical area of the ocean.

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In 1964, Vincent Gaddis was the first to use the descriptor “Bermuda Triangle,” although he wasn’t the first to write about the locale. An Associated Press article in 1950 brought the legend to prominence and several other books, one implicating aliens, only exacerbated the hysteria. In his 1975 book, The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved, Larry Kushe accused writers of misinterpreting facts and many conspiracy theories slowly vanished after that.

Related: Abandoned oil and gas wells are leaking methane across the USA

Yet scientific research continues to be applied to the Bermuda Triangle. Norwegian researchers from the Arctic University of Norway were studying craters on the floor of the Barents Sea when some began to speculate that what they were observing could solve the lingering vestiges of mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle. In these craters, which are 150 feet deep and half a mile wide, methane gas likely exploded, and such an occurrence could harm humans traveling in the area.

The researchers believe methane may have leaked out of deposits of gas or oil below the ocean floor, pulling ships down into the depths of the ocean as it bubbles up to the surface and erupts.

We don’t yet know if this phenomenon is occurring in the Bermuda Triangle, but the research from Norway isn’t the first to connect methane and myth. Researchers from theTrofimuk Institutein Russia also said gas hydrates could be the cause of any strange activity in the area.

The Norwegian research will be presented to the European Geosciences Union in a meeting next month.

Via Business Insider

Images via Wikimedia Commons and NOAA on Flickr