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The Arctic: An odd pinging noise that seems to be coming from the sea floor

Ian Harvey
Photo credit: Jean-Michel Roche
Photo credit: Jean-Michel Roche

If you believe in the Kraken, take notes. The Canadian military is investigating a strange pinging noise emerging from the sea floor close to a remote outpost located in the Arctic. The Canadian Armed Forces sent out a crew to examine the reports of the mysterious pinging noise that appears to come from the sea floor.

According to CBC News, the inhabitants in the isolated community in Igloolik, Nunavut have been hearing a noise during the summer. They have not found an identifiable cause. The Canadian Armed Forces stated that they are taking the appropriate steps to investigate the situation.

The noise has been described sounding like different things like a beep, hum, and a ping. This has been heard in the Fury and Hecla Strait, around 75 miles northwest of Igloolik for several months now.

Cumberland Peninsula of Baffin Island, aerial photo by Doc Searls. Photo Credit

Cumberland Peninsula of Baffin Island, aerial photo by Doc Searls CC BY 2.0

A military patrol aircraft had been sent to investigate the area on November 1st. A statement to a British newspaper from department spokeswoman Ashley Lemire stated that different multisensor searches have been completed in the area. This included a 1.5-hour sonar search that failed to detect any anomalies. She also stated that the crew didn’t detect any subsurface or surface contacts; at this time the Department of National Defense doesn’t intend to complete any further investigations.

The region of a thinly dispersed population is known to be inhabited by many sea mammals during warmer times, but they are often times hunted by the local Inuits. These hunters have been hearing the ominous sounds for some time now, and they said that it seems to be scaring the wildlife away.

People who visit the area on private yachts are also reporting hearing the mysterious pinging noise. It appears that this noise can be heard close to the surface of the water, but also through the hull of boats.

Northwest Passage routes

Northwest Passage routes

CBC News noted that their reporters have not heard any of the noises themselves. They don’t have any more information from those that have alleged to hear the sound. Yet, it’s no surprise that several theories related to the origin of the noise have come up during the wake of the first reports.

One of them is that the Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation is to blame even though plenty of sonar surveys have been conducted in the region lately. Ecological activists are saying there might be some confused local whales and narwhal populations.

Sonar is something that mining companies use to make a detailed map of the sea floor while they are searching for offshore gas and oil. Sonar is known to disturb marine life such as dolphins and whales. Even so, the Baffinland Iron Mines Corporations, which has performed surveys nearby, stated to CBC that they have no equipment in the water at this time.

The local government has stated that they have not issued any territorial permits to companies or groups for any hydrographic or construction work to be done in the region.

Some have proposed that Greenpeace may be deploying underwater sonar emissions to scare aquatic life away, mainly so that the Inuit can’t hunt them. A spokesperson from the group denied this accusation while talking with CBC News. It was noted that they respect the rights of the Inuit people who engage in such hunting.

The Department of National Defense noted that submarines passing through the area have not been ruled out, but they’re very unlikely to be the cause of the noise. Igloolik is just 43 miles away from an active military base, so if secret military experiments are one of your favorite kinds of conspiracy theories, then there could be something to latch on to.

A map showing Cumberland Sound and nearby areas. Photo Credit

A map showing Cumberland Sound and nearby areas. – By Kelisi – CC BY-SA 3.0

This hasn’t been the first strange noise that the Canadian government has been asked to investigate. For years, there has been a low rumbling sound known as the Windsor Hum that has plagued the residents of Windsor, Ontario. At this time, research into this other noise has failed to discover the origin, IFLScience reported.

We have another fun read for you: Abandoned Dutch island is home to a lonely lighthouse and two shipwrecks

But for now, the noise is still not explained. It’s definitely not the Cthulhu, though.