The world’s oceans are a very dark and mysterious place. With as much exploring as we’ve done in the past century, we’ve only covered about 5%. The remaining 95% of the Earth’s oceans remain unexplored to this day. One of the biggest mysteries that are still remaining revolves around a mysterious buzzing noise that occurs in the Pacific. According to a group of scientists, this might be the disappointment of the decade, as the mysterious buzzing in the Pacific may just be fish passing gas.
The mesopelagic zone
For decades, scientists have been baffled by the mysterious buzzing noise coming from the Pacific Ocean’s mesopelagic zone. It is way too loud to be made by whales, but what other source could there be? Until recently, nobody could figure out an answer.
Before I delve into the extremely disappointing answer, let me talk for a bit about the mesopelagic zone. Also known as the dark zone, the mesopelagic zone is where that area of deep ocean where the sunlight can’t reach begins. It is considered to last from 600 feet deep to about 3,300.
Here the oceans begins to be home to the strangest creatures in the ocean, and probably on Earth, the mesopelagic zone hosts dragonfish, anglerfish, shrimps, jellyfish, squid, and other deep ocean creatures which don’t get along very well with the light of day.
The mystery solved?
Now that you have a little background on the subject, we can dig into how the researchers uncovered the decade long mystery – they really didn’t. They’re just guessing. Sure, they’re experts, and it’s safe to assume that they know what they’re talking about, but the truth is that they’re pretty much going with two of the most likely explanations.
By pinpointing the exact hours of night during which the sound can be heard, the team of experts realized that it’s pretty much around the same hour every night, and that it lasts roughly the same amount of time. This led them to form some truly… interesting theories.
Initially, the team though that the sound might be a sort of “dinner bell”, as the creatures go up in order to look for food. The researchers assumed that the animals signaled other creatures living at the depth as them that it was time to go to eat, and that the sound stopped when they should return.
But after realizing that sea creatures that live that deep were very unlikely to communicate via sound so well with each other, the team turned the premise around – what if the sound isn’t meant to signal something, but instead it simply triggered automatically.
This is how the team of world renowned scientists figured out that the most likely explanation for the buzzing noise is that gas escapes the sea creatures’ stomachs as they go up towards the surface because of the change in pressure. As they return, their bodies get back to the pressure they are used to, and the buzzing stops.
Image source: Wikimedia