Listen In Wonder: The Bloop

Descend, if you dare…

What lurks beneath the ocean? What creatures swim beneath the waves? The great blue deep remains a mystery to us Earth-dwellers and no matter how much we study it, some answers will stay elusive, never appearing before our curious gaze.

In 1997, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) detected a frequency unlike any other; an extremely powerful, ultra-low frequency sound heard at listening posts thousands of miles apart. It was heard several times that summer and then, without warning, disappeared forever.

Turn your speakers up for maximum unsettling.

The Bloop, as it was dubbed, cuts into the deep hum of the eternal ocean, a soloist entering the chanted fray. It rises and falls with a measured burst, a titanic exhale with a warning presence. Animal-like, it roars out from nowhere, and vanishes just as quickly, exploding any unaware eardrums of those unfortunate enough to witness the massive mysterious source.

Scientists are still unsure what actually created the Bloop. The leading theory is that it was either an icequake or a large iceberg scraping the ocean floor, but others note the organic likenesses of the sound. Could there be a beast swimming beneath the waves, several times larger than a blue whale, capable of uttering a sound of such volume? Could it have been a final dying cry, as it was never heard again? Or could it have been a waking yawn followed by a return to slumber, for it’s time to rise had not yet come? The ocean remains a mystery, and with it, so does the Bloop.

For more bizarre ocean noises, check out the article “List of unexplained sounds” on Wikipedia and consider never stepping into the ocean again.

Pat Dalton is a writer, guitarist, and self-styled effects pedal experimentalist. He’s got a looper and a bit crusher and he’s not afraid to use them.