MH370 Update, 2022

For readers who may not know, Caladan Oceanic was hired by Minderoo Foundation of Perth, Australia to scan several Southeast Indian Ocean locations in May 2021. Most of the project was preannounced on a couple of websites: one owned by Minderoo Foundation, and one owned by The University of Western Australia in Perth. The preannounced locations included parts of what is known as the “Wallaby-Zenith Fracture Zone”, and includes Cuvier Plateau and Lost Dutchman Ridge.

The component that was not preannounced, the Zenith Abyss, ‘just happened’ to be precisely where MH370 is believed to have crashed on March 8, 2014. We know that 1) because Inmarsat’s 3-F1 satellite tracked it to the abyss, 2) because the pilot put the plane on a 162-degree heading for the final four hours after clearing Sumatra, 3) because US (Spy?) Satellites located the plane’s debris above Zenith shortly after the disappearance, and 4) because the entire search fleet was re-tasked to the Zenith Abyss area on March 18, 2014.

Unfortunately, not a single vessel deployed to the Zenith abyss area in April and May 2014 had deep ocean search capabilities in waters known to range from 4 kilometers below the surface to 7 kilometers below the surface. Even with a US Navy Bluefin-21 (autonomous underwater vehicle) maximum search depth was only about 1.5 kilometers: barely down to the peak of Zenith Seamount.

Without deep water sonar, nothing was found during the official search, and shortly thereafter the entire Zenith effort was suddenly and mysteriously abandoned by Australia, which went on to spend millions of dollars scanning the southern ocean where MH370 could not possibly have flown under any of the laws of physics now known.

Fast forward three years to June 2017 when Germany’s Geomar is believed to have finally, but unofficially, located and recorded the plane’s debris field. Was it just a coincidental finding? Probably not. By June 2017 Geomar had been quietly searching for the plane for at least two years. One of its employees / students developed a reverse-drift particle model that put the plane very close to the Abyss while all other search efforts were preoccupied with tales of Zombies in the Southern Ocean.

Map of 2017 Scientific Geologic and Biologic Cruise of R/V Sonne known as “SO258/1”.

The Geomar expedition was billed as a scientific excursion to study a number of deep ocean locations for biologic and geologic purposes. Details of the Geomar voyage can be found in a report titled:

RV SONNE Fahrtbericht / Cruise Report SO258/1

INGON: The Indian – Antarctic Break-up Enigma

Fremantle (Australia) – Colombo (Sri Lanka)

June 7 to July 9, 2017.

The R/V Sonne sails under the German flag and is owned by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research. She is used for a wide variety of Marine-related research. Geomar and Helmholtz have been leaders in Marine science for decades.

The first indication that R/V Sonne’s 2017 cruise to Zenith was more than advertised was the appearance of non-geologic objects in sonar data; the second involved attempts to prevent non-geologic objects from becoming public; and the third was the focus on using high quality cameras and seafloor landers. In fact, the Zenith location always seemed contrived. It is not as important / worthy of study as other areas investigated. Indeed, the Principal Investigator, Dr. Reinhard Werner, notes in the report identified above that Zenith was…

selected as main area for lander deployments because the predicted bathymetry and echo-sounding data reveal a ~6,500 m deep depression in that area which allowed us to compare the hadal fauna in such a non-subduction related depression with those communities living in the circum-Pacific trenches.

(A good overview and discussion of the Zenith component is available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00227-020-03798-4.)

This is article #1 of several to be posted in the week ahead.