Over a year later, new information and analyses still constantly appear, and keeping up with it is a full time job. The trail is far from cold. The above Google Earth map depicts some of the very latest information. Presented here are six independent degrees of support that all point at the same spot. Coincidence?
1 – Reason for path
The Waypoint Hypothesis path is the white line cutting across the picture from top to bottom. It is a simple path prediction based on my analysis of human factors. In other words, there is a logical reason behind why MH370 may have flown the path. The green pins are early and more recent predictions of endpoints I have made along this path. Last year, the 7th arc was not well understood and the early prediction was an educated guess. I updated the prediction recently with the latest understanding of the 7th arc. Subsequent to that, even newer information discussed below has come to light that may refine it further.
2 – Analysis of satellite data
The other green pins are various predictions by others. Most of these are backed by thorough studies of satellite data that are linked at LGHamiltonUSA’s tumbler page along with a wealth of other information. The influential Independent Group location is where the current search is focused and is based on a rigorous study of satellite data and fuel range. The Hardy point is a prediction by a pilot that has reportedly received the attention of ATSB and is a partial satellite timing analysis. Dr. Bobby Ulich’s prediction is a rigorous study of satellite data and fuel range.
The Waypoint Hypothesis has not received a thorough analysis (other than consistency with satellite timing) for fit to satellite data yet. However, being flanked on either side by pathways that have and have produced good fits (Ulich and Independent Group) means there is a good chance the Waypoint Hypothesis will produce a good fit as well.
3 – Performance Limit
The yellow line is the ATSB Performance Limit (maximum fuel range) shown in Figure 20 of their MH370 – Definition of Underwater Search Areas (PDF) report published June 2014 and updated August 2014. I have projected this line by eye inside the 7th arc to the waypoint Hypothesis path. There is an imaginary arc between the 6th and 7th arc passing through the “loss of second engine” point where MH370 is believed to have run out of fuel. As described in X marks the spot, where the Performance Limit intersects this imaginary arc would be the most likely place where the second engine on MH370 completely exhausted the fuel supply. This correspondence with the satellite timing data only occurs at two places along the arcs: the northern and southern limits at either end of nearly 2500 kilometers of 7th arc. As the above figure shows, the Waypoint Hypothesis nearly exactly matches this point on the southern end – compare the ATSB Performance limit yellow line projection to the yellow “loss of second engine” pushpin. Although fuel range is crude and subject to assumption uncertainty, the Waypoint Hypothesis path is believed to be a best fit path for the ATSB fuel range.
4 – End of Flight Simulations
Also shown superimposed on the Waypoint Hypothesis is a figure from Dr. Richard Cole’s recent simulation of end of flight possible paths. Note that this figure could be superimposed anywhere along the 7th arc and does not predict where along the arc MH370 is – it simply analyzes the end of flight. His analyses assume that MH370 ran out of fuel at the “loss of second engine” yellow pin. MH370 would then bank and spiral or nose down, and the brown dots are possible endpoints from many simulations.
5 – Seismic Evidence
Seismic stations are designed to record earthquakes and are located all around the world. By recording at several stations, the source of the event can be triangulated from differing arrival times. There are many recording stations located around the perimeter of the Indian Ocean and on islands within it. They typically pick up other man-made events. A Twitter user named Kirill Prostyakov is actively analyzing archived seismic data to try to detect the impact of MH370 on the surface of the sea. The impact would have created a compression wave that could travel great distances in the SOFAR channel of the ocean, arrive at land and potentially be recorded by seismographs. Below is his latest reconstruction:
The station seismographs shown above are shifted in time to the event time by adjusting for travel time delays in order to triangulate them. The vertical line represents the triangulation event time of many stations to the red “Prostyakov” pushpin on the map above. There is a clear visual amplitude difference before and after indicating that something happened at this location and time a couple of minutes after the last (7th arc) MH370 transmission. The event fits very closely in expected timing and location of impact of MH370 if it flew this route.
6 – Hydroacoustic Evidence
Hydrophones are underwater microphones designed to record the “sounds of the sea.” They pick up the same waves as described above in the SOFAR channel as they arrive at shore. They pick up various lower frequency wave events such as ice cracking in Antarctica. They also can be used to triangulate, but unfortunately there are few stations. The US Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has analyzed this data and has triangulated a location using timing and projected heading and this point is shown by the red pushpin in the map above. They have discussed their findings in a couple of reports:
- An initial analysis: Seismic and hydroacoustic analysis relevant to MH370 (July, 2014)
- A follow-on report looking at whether the event is unique along the 7th arc: (e.g. – could a hydroacoustic event be detected elsewhere along the arc?): How Common are Noise Sources on the Crash Arc of Malaysian Flight 370 (October, 2014)
In the first report, they detected an event triangulated to the red pushpin but indicated the evidence is weak. In the second report, they indicated that events are mostly not common along the arc. Whether this event could be tied to MH370 is currently subject to debate, but the location and timing generally fit the other indicators described above.
Putting it all together
If you look at the above picture, you can see how all six independent pieces fit together like nearly perfectly cut puzzle pieces, each one connecting to one or two others and tying everything together: from the initial human-selected pathway and destination to the second engine flameout, to the spiral down to the sea, to the potential seismo-acoustic pickup of the impact.
Each piece is fragile on it’s own, but together they begin to form a stronger case.