Cthulhu awaits for another day...
December 5, 2012 3:05 AM   Subscribe

The Bloop is a mysterious recurring sound in the world's oceans that has puzzled many over the years (previously). Now scientists think they know the answer: icequakes.
posted by zardoz (30 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Two words: whale farts
posted by littlesq at 3:20 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Mermaid cover-up continues...
posted by Renoroc at 4:19 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


That first link is kind of hilarious. Based on absolutely no connection I can see, he is sure that The Bloop proves the existence of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. (Cthulhu lives underwater in the stone city of R'lyeh -> these are sounds heard underwater -> QED!) About half the page is taken up by a letter from "Robert Blake," which is actually the name of one of Lovecraft's doomed protagonists (a fictionalization of his friend Robert Bloch, who gruesomely killed off a fictional H. P. L. in one of his own horror stories).
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:39 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Harvey Kilobit: I think you're misinterpreting his intent with that page. Not only does he say he doesn't think the Blake letter is at all authentic, he also says in his FAQ:
Are you serious?

I suppose that depends on exactly how you mean the question. Do I really think the Bloop will turn out to be Cthulhu? No. Do I think that there is value in exploring the issue from a Lovecraftian standpoint? If only as a piece of entertaining diversion, yes. Serious enough to devote both time and money to the project. And I welcome anyone with a similar attitude to help with the project.
posted by edd at 4:47 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm disappointed.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:53 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Icequakes -- one more weather word I went my whole life not knowing before I moved to Wisconsin....
posted by escabeche at 5:01 AM on December 5, 2012


Never trust the Blake letter.
posted by Blake at 5:22 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Now that I think about it, that makes sense. I was on Lake Springfield - literally, on the ice - one night with friends when we heard this...noise. Not the ice-cracking noise you'd expect, but a fast "dyoooop". Accompanying this noise, a crack appeared in the six-inch ice between my feet.

We made haste for the shoreline.
posted by notsnot at 5:49 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why do these fascinating mysteries always turn out to have the most dull, prosaic explanation possible? I mean, I wasn't expecting Cthulhu, but at least give us a massive new species of squid or something. Thanks a lot, science.
posted by pete_22 at 6:17 AM on December 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you've ever stood on a very quiet black-ice frozen lake or pond of sufficient size in sub-zero weather (especially when the ice temperature is changing rapidly, such as on a sunny day) you've heard icequakes on a smaller scale. It can be pretty disconcerting. But the sound is exactly like The Bloop. On larger lakes, icequakes can cause shoreline buildings to shake. More.
posted by beagle at 6:27 AM on December 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ok, so what about all the other unexplained sounds?
posted by Scientist at 6:38 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although I note that along with The Bloop, three other of Wikipedia's Unexplained Sounds have recently been identified as "icebergs, brah."
posted by Scientist at 6:39 AM on December 5, 2012


The bloop (real-time, NR version) would be great background atmospheric music for a horror movie. And the link beagle added above - the frozen lake sounds from Germany - I want to hear that used in an Aphex Twin song. Because it already sounds like it could be one. Cool.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:17 AM on December 5, 2012


Why do these fascinating mysteries always turn out to have the most dull, prosaic explanation possible? I mean, I wasn't expecting Cthulhu, but at least give us a massive new species of squid or something. Thanks a lot, science.
Also turns out ghosts are just infrasound. Sorry to ruin your day.

On a serious note, Lovecraft was writing at a time when science had just figured out the enormity of outer space. Pluto (a.k.a. Yuggoth) wasn't even discovered until 1930! Imagine it's 1930 and we just discovered another mysterious floating body orbiting the sun which, as far as we know it, might conceal nameless terrors from beyond the beyond. Everything about the Lovecraft mythos reflects this shock of finding out that everything human is utterly insignificant on any kind of cosmic scale and that advanced alien races, if they do exist, couldn't possibly give a damn about a remote planet of hairless apes.

Horror/sci-fi seems to work best at this sort of historical moment, when we are processing some big anxiety caused by a scientific discovery that makes us question our place in the world. I sincerely doubt we've figured out all the big anxiety-provoking discoveries about the universe. Stories like Lovecraft's will keep being written as anthropocentric therapy as long as we keep making this kind of discovery. And we will.
posted by deathpanels at 7:25 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: The Bloop is the phenomenon without which this site might not exist.
posted by eurypteris at 7:31 AM on December 5, 2012


If I recall correctly, wasn't calving ice one of the early explanations for the Bloop?
posted by happyroach at 7:41 AM on December 5, 2012


The ice sound is similar to the sound produced by steel cables under strain. But in that ice fishing video, the ice looked too wet for my comfort! I prefer ice that doesn't remind me there's still water underneath.
posted by Goofyy at 8:06 AM on December 5, 2012


Why do these fascinating mysteries always turn out to have the most dull, prosaic explanation possible? I mean, I wasn't expecting Cthulhu, but at least give us a massive new species of squid or something. Thanks a lot, science.

Oh, come now. If the word "icequakes" doesn't make you giddy, then turn in your Amazement Club card immediately!
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:07 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sounds like the Kraken playing a Moog.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:20 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any time you have a medium where higher frequencies (of sound) travel faster than lower frequencies you're going to get a similar effect. The weirdest place I ever heard it was at Notre Dame — if you put your ear against an inner support column and give it a solid whack with your palm it sounds a lot like the noises in beagle's link.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:55 AM on December 5, 2012


I love that Wikipedia has a list of unexplained sounds, but I think I love even more the "This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it" note. I'm sorely tempted to add things like "that weird beeping" and "do you hear that hissing noise?"
posted by maryr at 9:25 AM on December 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


"was there cheese in that? oh god i think there was cheese in that"
posted by elizardbits at 10:26 AM on December 5, 2012


Holy crap go to beagle's link and listen at about 1:52

Yeah "disconcerting" is one word for it.
posted by rahnefan at 10:56 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy crap go to beagle's link and listen at about 1:52,

For best results, wait until it's dark and you're alone in the house.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:07 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This fucking bloop has sent me down a 90 minute wildly convoluted wikihole and I would shriek with outrage except reading about the Medieval Inquisition is really fucking entertaining.
posted by elizardbits at 11:09 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


And the world is a bit less fascinating today, a tad smaller.
posted by Splunge at 12:58 PM on December 5, 2012


Icequakes, you say? In Antartica? As in where At The Mountains of Madness was set? HPL already had a back-up explanation before we even discovered the Blood.
posted by KingEdRa at 2:24 PM on December 5, 2012


from BloopWatch.org: “The Bloop is the phenomenon without which this site might not exist.”

"Might?"
posted by koeselitz at 2:31 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is great. I didn't know about the Bloop and I love the guy's site, and then also science has figured it out, gravy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:14 PM on December 5, 2012


Metafilter: a 90 minute wildly convoluted wikihole.
posted by Rallon at 7:28 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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