With the gathering of the MH370 families on the fifth anniversary of their loss, a call went out for anyone to step forward who might have information that would help reveal the truth about what happened to the plane. Seeking the truth for the families and everyone concerned has always been the motivation of this work. It is my sincere hope that revealing these explorations for open discussion will move us all closer toward finding that truth.
Proposed here is a more complete waypoint path that builds on prior submitted findings, using new acoustic data that was not included in the official MH370 report. A previous waypoint path running tangent along the second BTO ping arc suggests a continued flight path between navigational waypoints in the Indian Ocean. Preliminary acoustic detections of a flyby at Cocos Island and then Christmas Island airports support this more complete waypoint hypothesis, and lead toward a specific location directly on the 7th arc near Java that stands out in multiple hydrophone and seismic detections as a possible implosion event from the sinking aircraft about 55 minutes after impact. This endpoint looks consistent with more than one debris drift model. By selecting waypoints past Christmas Island and the 6th arc crossing, a complete path to the candidate site is shown that appears to be consistent with BTO and BFO timing, fuel limits, and long range autopilot cruise speeds at oxygen altitude. The MH370 waypoint flight path after the major turn south is proposed as, IGOGU, NOPEK, BEDAX, ISBIX, POSOD, YPCC Cocos, YPXM Christmas, LADIR, TOPAR, LEMUS, then the 7th Arc “Javanomaly” candidate site at 8.36S 107.92E.
Antarctic ice events are readily detectable by distant hydrophones in the Indian Ocean because the sounds propagate well into the SOFAR channel. It may be that the reverse is true. Remote sounds in the ocean from inside and outside the SOFAR channel might also get funneled toward Antarctica as the SOFAR channel nears the surface due to temperature and salinity changes. This would give three active seismic stations on the Antarctic coast T-wave coverage of the Indian Ocean. Based on 7th arc timing, a prominent detection was found on all three stations that may triangulate to a new candidate MH370 location.
Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean has a runway that handles daily jet traffic. Its location is between the 5th and 6th ping arcs, making it a logical next destination after Cocos Island, which is between the 4th and 5th arcs. Near the expected travel time between the arcs, a lone seismic signal arrival after dawn may have been the plane on approach to the Christmas Island airport. Detection of jets by seismometers has been shown. A slow Doppler shifting seismic signal does appear earlier at Cocos at about the right time. Detecting the plane at Christmas Island would be further evidence that it was navigating by waypoints, and that a pilot could have sought out a landing site.
The designated 7th Arc search area was based in part on the assumption of a straight flight path after flight MH370 turned south. The timing of the ping rings indicates that the plane appeared to fly on either a linear or curved path that approached and then receded from satellite. It would have been closest to the satellite and flying tangent to it shortly after the 2nd arc ping timing. New candidate search areas need to be consistent with the tangent heading at that time. Improving the estimate of the tangent timing could be important in finding the plane.
There is an array of eight infrasound recorders at Cocos Keeling West Island that was continuously collecting data during the flight of MH370. That data has been unavailable to the public. Further study was previously dismissed after separate analyses in early 2014 by multiple governmental research teams that found no infrasound evidence of flight MH370. A closer look at those reports shows flaws in the methodology that may have caused key information to be dismissed.
This is a technical note about improvements to the calibration of the hydrophone locations, which are critical to getting an accurate back azimuth on a source signal. The information may be helpful to oceanographers doing future research.
This is also a note of appreciation to Warren Gray with Seisintel.com, a seismic survey monitoring service. Warren took a personal interest in this MH370 location project and spent three months, from March to May 2018, researching and obtaining the seismic survey data needed to refine the calibrations.
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 likely crashed over deep ocean water, which has made detection by acoustic devices difficult. Satellite doppler indicates a possible high speed dive after loss of power, and recovered fragments of the interior cabin match that scenario. Such an impact would create a pressure wave downward into the Earth. Data recordings from nearly 5,000 active seismometers were analyzed for evidence of the seismic waves traversing the globe. A focusing effect should have amplified the seismic waves by tenfold or more at the antipode on the opposite side of the globe from the origin. A seismometer near the antipode would get a unique signal pattern that shows its displacement. The antipode of the priority MH370 search area is in the southeast USA with good seismometer coverage. Methods of stacking seismometers to reduce noise, and evidence of waves passing distant seismic arrays are explored in search of the crash site.
A very strong MH370 candidate signal was reported here a year ago, arriving at the Diego Garcia H08 hydrophone array from the direction of Java. The T-wave arrival is far stronger than a later M4.4 quake near Java and four times stronger on local seismometers than a nearby M4.1 quake. Despite the stronger signals, this event was not included in earthquake catalogs like the others. Analysis of nearby seismometers places the origin as 8.36S 107.92E directly on the 7th Arc at 1:15:18 UTC, almost an hour after the expected impact time. This may be evidence of an implosion near SOFAR channel depth as the plane sank after impact.
Lightning strikes are among the loudest natural sounds near the surface of the ocean. With multiple acoustic candidates for an MH370 event, it was considered that some might be eliminated as lightning. A 48 hour database of over 3 million accurately located lightning events around the Indian Ocean was provided for this purpose. The precision of the data also opened the possibility of calibrating the hydrophone array bearings against known sources. Ultimately, even the strongest ocean strikes could not be discriminated from other noise at the hydrophones. This negative result is an indication that a surface impact of MH370 over deep water may propagate poorly over long distances as sound in the deeper SOFAR channel.
Cocos Keeling West Island is an isolated atoll in the Southern Indian Ocean with an airport that routinely handles large commercial jet aircraft. It also has continuously recording infrasound detectors and seismometers. A straight line flight path to the previous MH370 search area would have passed far to the west of the island. As the search area moves north along the 7th arc, it approaches a point where MH370 may have passed close enough to be detected. Examining publicly available seismometer data reveals a unique signal at approximately the expected time for an MH370 flyby. Timing and indications of Doppler shift show that the plane may have passed within several km of the airport.
The first acoustic candidate reported by Curtin University in 2014 still stands out as an anomaly. Its location is not precisely known for lack of good matches on other hydrophones for triangulation. This analysis provides an improved estimate of the Curtin event origin by detecting the conversion of hydroacoustic sound waves as seismic waves received by seismometers on islands around the Maldives.
Triangulating an ocean acoustic event requires an accurate estimate of the propagation time between a remote source and the receiving hydrophone. It is dependent on the speed of sound over the path taken, which is affected by water temperature, salinity, and pressure. The sound speed reaches a minimum at a particular depth depending on those local values, called the SOFAR deep sound channel because sounds above or below that depth tend to refract back into the channel. This allows a very low loss over great distances if a sound enters the SOFAR channel. Using the World Ocean Atlas data set allows computing the SOFAR depth and speed with useful accuracy on a quarter degree global grid. With an estimate of speed variations, it is then a matter of integrating the average speed over any path of interest. The speed map is used to generate a map of travel times for each hydrophone location.
It has been three years now since flight MH370 went missing. This effort to localize the flight with hydrophones has continued in earnest since the recording data was first acquired about nine months ago. After dozens of false starts and continuing refinements of the analysis algorithms, a new candidate location has been revealed that is consistent with both 7th Arc timing and new drift origin estimates.
As the underwater sonar search is being suspended, progress continues here on refinement of the acoustic analysis algorithms. The nulling method for rejecting known noise sources has been greatly improved. More proper numerical treatment of the input data has eliminated some high frequency sampling artifacts, allowing use of the full signal bandwidth. Changes to the visualization methods better display weak signals and help differentiate events from noise.
This a technical followup to the preliminary acoustic map, with updates on the signal analysis and calibration. No event candidates are presented in this update.
The first autocorrelation matching maps did not take advantage of beamforming techniques to minimize noise and interference, and match at a single brief snapshot in time. They are dependent on good wavespeed and hydrophone placement accuracy, but without a way to gauge either one.
The maps now presented use an algorithm and visualization method that covers a specific time frame and is not only tolerant of calibration errors, but can reveal both wavespeed and bearing errors.
[ Updated Feb 2017 – new info below indicates a water vapor cloud. ]
An anomaly visible on satellite thermal images from March 8, 2014 may indicate a large hydrocarbon plume that could help narrow the search area for missing flight MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean.
Visible on two passes of the NASA Aqua/MODIS and Terra/Modis satellites, the isolated dark cloud is moving northeast with normal clouds in the area, but has some peculiarities that set it apart.
Agencies coordinating the ongoing search efforts are planning to suspend operations once a thorough exploration of the established search zone is completed, unless credible new evidence for a specific location is presented. This hydroacoustic analysis project continues to reveal candidate events as new algorithms and data visualization methods are developed. The recent focus has been on 7th Arc timing for an impact event near the active search area to provide even preliminary results before operations are suspended.