"Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves, but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring." - Carl Sagan
For over forty years, the Bermuda Triangle has been popularly known for supposedly paranormal disappearances of boats and aircraft. This imaginary triangle, also known as “Devil’s Triangle,” has its three points at Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. Actually, despite several factors which should contribute to higher rates of accidents in the region, the Bermuda Triangle has been found to be no more statistically dangerous than other areas of the open ocean.
The popular legend of the Bermuda Triangle began with a 1964 article in the magazine Argosy that described and named the Triangle. Further articles and reports in such magazines as National Geographic and Playboy merely repeated the legend without additional research. Many of the disappearances discussed in these articles and others did not even occur in the area of the Triangle.
The 1945 disappearance of five military airplanes and a rescue plane was the primary focus of the legend. In December of that year, Flight 19 set out on a training mission from Florida with a leader who wasn’t feeling well, an underexperienced crew, a lack of navigation equipment, a limited supply of fuel, and rough seas below. Though the loss of Flight 19 may have initially seemed mysterious, the cause of its failure is well documented today.
There are a few real hazards in the area of the Bermuda Triangle that contribute to the accidents that occur in the wide swath of sea. The first is the lack of magnetic declination near 80° west (just off the coast of Miami). This agonic line is one of two points on the earth’s surface where compasses point directly to the North Pole, versus to the Magnetic North Pole elsewhere on the planet. The change in declination can make compass navigation difficult.
Inexperienced pleasure boaters and aviators are common in the area of the triangle and the U.S. Coast Guard receives many distress calls from stranded seamen. They travel too far from the coast and often have an insufficient supply of fuel or knowledge of the swiftly moving Gulf Stream current.
Overall, the mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle is not much of a mystery at all but has simply been the result of an overemphasis on the accidents which have occurred in the area.