Science: Davy Jones's Sound Effects

Early in 1942, the Army fitted some of its coastal minefields with underwater microphones. Its purpose: to listen for enemy craft, and blow them sky-high by exploding appropriate mines. For a while the minefields were quiet. Then, with spring, the microphones under an empty sea picked up an "awful racket." To some it sounded like a pneumatic drill, to others like laden freighters coming up the channel.

Baffled, the Army called in the Navy, and the Navy, which had noise trouble of its own, appealed to Biologist Charles H. Blake of M.I.T. What subsea...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!