Dragon’s Triangle – The Pacific Ocean’s Deadliest Enigma

The 25° N latitude cuts through not only the Bermuda Triangle, which you might have read about in the previous blog by Dwaipayan and Shubhrangshu, but also the Dragon’s Triangle – the deadliest enigma of the Pacific Ocean. Is this merely a coincidence? Let’s understand a bit about this deadly and mysterious triangle in the Pacific Ocean before we can intuitively try to answer this question.

The Devil’s Sea – Also known as the Dragon’s Triangle:

The Dragon’s Triangle is located in the Pacific Ocean (250N-1370E) south of Tokyo. This place is also famous for the same kind of paranormal activities that we have discussed in the previous blog.

Map of the Dragon’s Triangle

The Mystery:

On 9 September 1980, MV Derbyshire, an ore-bulk-oil combination carrier built in 1976 by Swan Hunter, which was carrying 1,57,446 tonnes of iron ore, was lost during Typhoon Orchid, 230 miles off the east coast of Okinawa on the south of Japan. Twice as big as the Titanic, it is the largest British ship ever to have been lost at sea. Also, in January 2002, another Chinese freighter, MV Lin-Je, set to arrive at the Japanese post of Kagoshima, disappeared in the same region. What was common to both these incidents is that both of them never issued a Mayday distress message and simply disappeared. Similar disappearances have been a regular event in the region since the 1940s and also, Japan has reported of ship disasters in this  region per year. On 22 March 1957, a US Air Force C-97 Stratofreighter, carrying 67 international military personnel to the Tokyo International Airport, Japan, also mysteriously disappeared in this region despite reporting calm winds and perfect flying conditions. These waters, although charted, are nothing short of stepping into the unknown world. It has always remained a high-intensity zone of unexplained happenings. Even the best naval forces of the world tread these waters with the highest level of caution by constantly monitoring the weather and other situations or conditions.

Origin of the Devil’s Sea Extrasensory Myth:

There is a mythical origin of the name Dragon in the Devil Sea’s name. The Chinese fable tells us about the existence of dragons below the water surface. According to these fables, the dragons under the sea attack vessels passing by to satiate their hunger. These fables have originated well before the AD period-1000 BC era. With their emphasis on the presence of mythical creatures like dragons, these fables have made a huge impact on the legends and mysterious stories created in the years to come. Similarly, the Japanese name “Ma-No Umi,” meaning the ‘Sea of the Devil’, was originally coined by the Japanese countrymen years ago when the stories of paranormal phenomena in the sea was popularised. The superstitions associated with the Devil’s Sea always haunted the Japanese from venturing into this part of the ocean right from centuries past.

They were believed throughout many years in those countries and if we dig into the history of these countries we will essentially find out the proof of the existence of such types of superstition. But now, in the age of science, we have to look into the facts scientifically and try to explain and elaborate the events logically so that it becomes acceptable to the whole world. In the next part, we will try to focus on the probable scientific explanations to the enigma of Dragon’s Triangle.

Explanations for the mystery of Devil’s Sea:

Science has been trying for many years to find out the solution and explanation for the abnormal mysteries lie in the Dragon’s Triangle as well as in Bermuda’s Triangle. In the previous blog, we had discussed some probable causes for the incidents in Bermuda’s Triangle. Now we will move forward for the Dragon’s Triangle…

  • Professor Junichi Yaoi, a writer and expert in paranormal science hinted at the possibility of the missing ships and aeroplanes to be sucked into another dimension during an interview on Amazon Prime’s “The Devil’s Sea” documentary. According to him, it’s another dimension which exists but is beyond our detection and realization capacity. However, this theory is considerably criticized by maritime scientists who tried to explain these events in a way that is acceptable as per our current knowledge in science.
Vile Vortices
  • Scholar Ivan Sanderson has suggested that hot and cold currents crossing this Vile Vortice leading to the disappearance of vessels in the Devil’s Sea. According to him, these currents result in electromagnetic disturbances that trap the ships passing by. This can also cause local magnetic anomalies which can divert the directions of the compass. As mentioned earlier in Bermuda Triangle’s mystery case, the magnetic anomaly may also come from variations in the rocks.
Pacific Ring of Fire
  • We know that Japan lies in the Pacific ocean’s great volcanic belt also known as “The Ring of Fire”. There are many active volcanoes there and even there are many submerged volcanoes also in the Pacific. And it is thought that the subsea volcanoes in that area caused the disappearance of vessels. The eruptions from these volcanoes could have initiated such accidents, substantiating the stories of dragons sucking in ships and its crew to the ocean’s depths. Due to the undersea volcanoes and seismic activities, according to marine scholars, the islands in the area often disappear suddenly, while new ones appear at the same pace. Also, due to the temperature differences created and the gases released, underwater volcanoes might affect the water density (locally reducing it), which might also lead to the sinking of the ships.
How underwater volcanic activities might sink ships
  • Another scientific research claimed that the anomalies believed to occur in the triangle were the result of an environmental phenomenon. The researchers argued that the area has the presence of methane hydrates on the seabed. The same explanation was also discussed in the Bermuda Triangle mysteries. When methane hydrates gas or methane clathrates explodes, bubbles will be formed on the water surface as the ice-like deposits separate from the bottom of the ocean at the time of the explosion. These activities can interrupt buoyancy and also destroy a vessel without even leaving a trace.

So, as we can see, there are many reasons behind these paranormal activities on the 25° N latitude line, both in Bermuda Triangle and in Dragon Triangle. Some of them are same, some are different. But the events occurring in these places have fascinated everyone for a long time and in the eyes of science, these two places have attracted a lot of attention and different perspectives to date and will continue doing so.

However, we hope that you came to know something about two of the most mysterious places on the planet after reading the blogs on Bermuda Triangle: The Sogennant Place Famous For Untangled Mysteries On Our Earth and this one.

By Dwaipayan Dubey and Diptatanu Das, IISER Kolkata.


  1. “The final voyage of Derbyshire”. www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk. Liverpool museum. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  2. Unexplained Mystery: The Devil’s Sea (The Dragon’s Triangle) by Shamseer Mambra, in: Maritime History, December 27, 2019.
  3. McLelland, E. Warning issued as the Kick ’em Jenny volcano in the Caribbean Sea off Grenada threatens to erupt and could cause ships to sink without trace. (2015) Mail Online.

Image Sources:

  1. Feature Image: From Pinterest by William Pesce.
  2. Map of the Dragon’s Triangle: From Pinterest by Kanazawa.
  3. Vile Vortices: The Vile Vortices Of Ivan T. Sanderson (Pinterest)
  4. Pacific Ring of Fire: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Worldmap_wdb_combined.svg
  5. How Underwater volcanic activities might sink ships: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3174252/Warning-issued-Kick-em-Jenny-volcano-Caribbean-Sea-Grenada-threatens-erupt-cause-ships-sink-without-trace.html#i-ef317993cd5e286a

About The Authors:

I am Dwaipayan Dubey, a 4th-year Physics Major (minor in chemistry) student of IISER Kolkata, and a KVPY fellow. I am highly interested in astronomy and want to pursue a career in this field. As I wanted to be an astronomer from childhood, I feel the attraction to the beauty of space as well as to the natural beauty of Earth. Besides science, I also like to invest my time in history, drawing, and photography. Other than these, I also like to play football, cricket, discussing topics with friends, etc.


Diptatanu is a fourth-year BS-MS student at IISER Kolkata and a KVPY fellow, majoring in biology, with a chemistry minor. He has been a part of the gold-medalist iGEM IISER Kolkata teams in 2018 and 2019, and is also associated with next year’s team. Other than having a high affinity for good food and sleep, he loves to make music and play TT, football, cricket, etc., in his free time. He prefers to do some original work and has been writing articles, blogs and composing new songs. He is currently the CEO of IISER Kolkata Campus Radio and is also one of the admins and a regular blogger of our blog page, ‘The Qrius Rhino’.

Read his other blogs for TQR: How Good Is Gaming?, Life@iiserkolkata, A Dream within a Dream, Impacts of Natural Disasters on Ecological Balance – An Original Perspective, iGEM in India!, Coronavirus – An Unsolvable Challenge? and A Summer in Germany!

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