The Baltic Anomaly: The Bigger Picture?

The investigation of the Baltic Anomaly is ongoing and many questions remain. This seems like a good time to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.

Background on the Baltic Anomaly

On June 19, 2011, the Ocean X Team used side-scan sonar to “photograph” a strange object deep in the Baltic Sea, approximately 260 feet below surface. Peter Lindberg, co-founder of the Ocean X Team, jokingly declared “Hey guys, we have a UFO!” However, after a large publicity campaign and a new expedition, the Ocean X Team discovered the Anomaly primarily consisted of large rocks. The exact nature of those rocks remain a mystery.

This story has been about the details. So, we’d like to look at some of the larger issues surrounding the Baltic Anomaly today.

The Limitations of Side-Scan Sonar

The initial “photographs” produced by the Ocean X Team were actually side-scan sonar images. Side-scan sonar works by transmitting acoustic pulses toward the seabed. The seabed, as well as other objects, then reflect those pulses back to the transducer. The pulses are merged together to form an ongoing “picture” of the seabed. Side-scan sonar can create compelling pictures but it’s far from perfect.

“Perhaps even more problematic are the limitations of side-scanning sonar. Even shipwrecks, with their hard edges and solid structures, are difficult to discern from the natural underwater landscape.” ~ David Meyer, The Hunt for Bin Laden’s Corpse

The opposite is true as well. Natural landscape can sometimes be mistaken for solid structures. There are a number of reasons for this. Waves can impact sonar images. Changes in the seabed as well as its composition have a similar effect. And deeper waters require lower frequencies, which hampers resolution.

The initial side-scan sonar photographs of the Baltic Anomaly showed four separate features: the Circle, the Window, the Tracks, and the Rock. The image of the Circle turned out to be fairly accurate (see picture above). Initially, this image caused us to think it was just 60 feet in diameter, compared to the original estimate of 200 feet. However, further examination of the piece from indicates it is indeed 60 meters in diameter, or roughly 200 feet. The Tracks were initially described as 4,000 to 5,000 feet long and consisting of sea floor pushed into long ridges. After investigation, the Tracks turned out to be just 985 feet long and more like a downhill runway. We’ve heard nothing about the Window or the Rock, which leads us to think they might’ve just been sonar distortions.

The Role of Skepticism

As many of you know, we’ve been the lead skeptic of the Baltic Anomaly. Between the vague and highly charged updates, the involvement of Titan Television, and dark hints at “military intervention,” we couldn’t help but wonder if this was a hoax to drum up publicity for the eventual documentary. And although our theory of “military intervention” never came to pass, it appears we were right about the publicity angle.

The Ocean X Team has a large monetary incentive to keep things interesting, especially among the UFO enthusiasts. Thus, it should be no surprise they issued numerous statements of a conspiratorial nature.

“Everything is top secret now … because of the risks … hope you all understand this is no game. But the truth will be reported shortly.” ~ Dennis Åsberg, Ocean X Team, June 10, 2012

In retrospect, that statement seems a bit ridiculous, especially since it was made after the Ocean X Team discovered the Anomaly consisted of rocks.

Many people, especially true believers, find skepticism frustrating. However, we think it’s extremely important. Skepticism isn’t about rejecting other people’s beliefs. It’s about suspending judgement until claims can be properly tested and verified. Just because we’re skeptical of the Baltic Anomaly being anything more than a natural formation doesn’t mean we reject it out of hand. Indeed, we believe keeping an open mind is important.

“But while I’m extremely skeptical of Bigfoot, I certainly don’t reject the possibility of its existence. One of the things that frustrates me about modern science is the built-in disdain many researchers hold for fields like cryptozoology. Regardless of our opinions, we must continue to evaluate any and all scientific claims with an open mind…even if its about the legendary Sasquatch. After all, that’s what science is all about.” ~ David Meyer, Bigfoot Lives…!

Happy Endings?

Real life doesn’t always offer happy endings. The Baltic Anomaly was a blockbuster story…at least until the rather disappointing ending. Many people hoped the Ocean X Team would find a UFO, a sunken city, or at the very least, a shipwreck. Compared to those things, a curious rock formation just can’t compare. Now, many people, especially UFO enthusiasts, are holding out hope for something else beneath the rocks. However, the likelihood of that being the case is beyond small.

Unsolved Mysteries?

We research a lot of mysteries and strange phenomena here at Guerrilla Explorer. Many of the stories we cover are open-ended and likely to remain that way. The Baltic Anomaly falls into this category. Not because it can’t be solved but because it wouldn’t make sense to do so.

“…the Baltic Anomaly will never be solved. That’s not because it can’t be solved but rather because the Ocean X Team has no incentive to solve it. The chances of the Anomaly being anything other than a natural formation are exceedingly small. So, if the Ocean X Team were to answer all the questions, most people would lose interest in the story. Few people would watch a documentary about a natural rock formation. Even fewer people would be willing to pay money to see it on a tour.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: What is Going on Here?

The Importance of Adventure

This has been an exciting adventure. We’ll talk more about this during the week. But suffice it to say, stories of fantastic expeditions into the unknown are all too rare these days. So, thanks to the Ocean X Team for injecting a little adventure into a world that often seems devoid of it.


Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

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