Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Belief, Reality, and Marks on the Reef

It’s being widely reported in the media, and it’s accurately discussed at  In a nutshell, the Earhart Forum’s Richard Conroy has detected an interesting anomaly in the 2012 side-scan sonar imagery of the Nutiran reef at Nikumaroro.  Detailed analysis has led to the suspicion that it may represent the fuselage of Earhart’s Electra, leaving a debris trail as it slid down the reef face and was simultaneously displaced by the south-flowing current.

I see that at least one television news channel (admittedly, the foxy faux one) has been saying that we “believe” the thing to be the Electra.  This strikes me as typical of the tabloid media; reality is all about what we “believe” to be true.  Which may be what reality is, but we science-types like to think (believe?) that we’re trying to discern reality, not make it up.

And what we discern is what seems to be a sort of diagonal mark on the reef face, which might be some kind of natural formation – but if it is, it’s the only one like it we can see – and which looks a lot like the signature of something about the size of the Electra’s fuselage, working its way down and along the reef face under the combined influences of gravity and the N-S current.  And its location is sensible vis-à-vis where we hypothesize that Earhart landed, and where Eric Bevington photographed the “Nessie” object in 1937. 

Until we can get an ROV down on the site, we won’t know whether it’s the Electra or not, and what any of us “believe” is irrelevant.  Gerald the Skeleton may know, but he’s not talking.


  1. Its a fantastic find by Richie but if correct then Geralds been telling porkies on his blog ;)

  2. Actually, I thought Gerald's description of Sheel's home was remarkably on-target, considering he tapped it out over a year before the side-scan was shot. But he may have been fuzzing the location a bit.

  3. Yes quite a coincidence, then again it’s logical given the current hypothesis.