Scientists were baffled when they found that an underwater observatory goes missing without a trace, taking precious sea data along with it.
The GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany said that Boknis Eck Observatory may have been "forcibly removed" from its spot under the Baltic Sea. Valuable data on the state of the Baltic Sea also went missing along with the observatory, CNN reports.
In August, data transmission from the observatory's underwater sensors suddenly went blank, according to the research center. Upon investigation at the site, divers found nothing except for a shredded cable that served as the Boknis Eck's anchor.
Planted in Kiel's Eckernförde Bay in 2016, the underwater observatory has two "desk-sized" racks. One of which serves as the equipment's power source, tied to the coast by a cable, while the other rack consists of the sensors that transmit data back to the shore, CNN says.
|Boknis Eck Observatory / Photo by: CNN|
Divers didn't find either of the racks when they went down to investigate, GEOMAR researcher and marine biogeochemist Herman Bange said in a statement.
"The devices were gone," Bange said, adding that divers weren't able to "find them anymore."
Building the Boknis Eck Observatory cost around $330,000, but the GEOMAR researcher asserted that the data it gathers is "priceless." Sensors installed on it measure the sea's salinity as well as the concentration of methane, oxygen. and carbon dioxide and temperature. Monitoring such data helps scientists be alerted of possible problems in the sea's ecosystem and take necessary action.
GEOMAR says there are three possible suspects for the removal of the observatory, which weighs more than 1,500 pounds; a storm, current, or sea creature.
If ever a human is responsible for the uprooting, CNN reports the research center having enlisted the Eckernförde police and the public to search for clues regarding its location. Current efforts of the team have, so far, been in vain, according to Bange.
|Alleged parts of the observatory after it went missing / Photo by: CNN|