for National Geographic News
Updated December 15, 2003
On a sunny day 58 years ago, five Navy planes took off from their base in Florida on a routine training mission, known as Flight 19. Neither the planes nor the crew were ever seen again.
Thus was a legend born. The Bermuda Triangle is an area roughly bounded by Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. No one keeps statistics, but in the last century, numerous ships and planes have simply vanished without a trace within the imaginary triangle.
Many theories have been given to explain the extraordinary mystery of these missing ships and planes. Evil extraterrestrials, residue crystals from Atlantis, evil humans with anti-gravity devices or other weird technologies, and vile vortices from the fourth dimension are favorites among fantasy writers.
A fourth factor is the ocean bottom of that area. The topography of the ocean bottom varies from extensive shoals around the islands to some of the deepest marine trenches in the world (the deepest point in the Atlantic, the Puerto Rico Trench, is located in the Bermuda Triangle). With the interaction of the currents over the many reefs, the topography is in a state of constant flux, causing a rapid development of navigational hazards is .