Merrillville Community Planetarium
Bringing the Universe to the Merrillville Schools and Northwest Indiana

Bermuda and Alaska Triangles

The Bermuda Triangle, sometimes called the Devil’s Triangle, is an area located between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Florida. Aircraft and sea-going vessels have gone down in this area of the ocean, most of them not to be found ever again. That’s not really unusual for anything that falls into the ocean.

What may cause some mysterious disappearances are ocean floor landslides. A landslide occurs in the gas-ice-sediment mixture of the ocean floor under the high pressure of the ocean on top of it, releasing a toxic mixture rich in methane gas. The released gaseous mixture causes blasts that have damaged offshore oil rigs. The gas can cause delirium by intoxicating the crews on vessels, or changing the density of the surrounding air, interfering with normal piloting. Many stories of lost vessels include their losing their sense of direction.

The lesser known Alaska Triangle covers the area between a point on the northern coast Utkiagaviq (Barrow on older maps), Anchorage, and Juneau. More than 16,000 people have “vanished” in the Alaska Triangle since 1988. The snowy, glaciered and mountainous terrain of the area makes it very difficult to find any remains. Since glaciers are honeycombed with pockets and crevasses, people, planes, or equipment can easily disappear from sight. The Tlingit and Tsimshian Indians of the area say the Kushtaka or “Otter Man” (like Bigfoot) lures travelers away from their trail by shapeshifting into relatives or children, leading them to their deaths or turning them into Kushtaka.