Could Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster mystery be nothing more than the aftershock of an active fault beneath Great Britain's deepest freshwater lake? That’s what one Italian geologist is speculating.
Considering the so-called sightings of the Loch Ness Monster are often accompanied by bubbling water and tremors, Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi argues that the Great Glen fault system is responsible for the long-necked, legendary beast.
The theory that Loch Ness Monster sightings result from aftershocks was first proposed by Piccardi in 2001, according to Scientific American
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The Italian geologist conducted an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that was published in June 28 in which he reiterated his theory.
"There are various effects on the surface of the water that can be related to the activity of the fault," Piccardi told La Repubblica as translated by Scientific American. "The beast appears and disappears with great shakes . . . I think it’s an obvious description of what really happened."
Piccardi then pointed to the period between 1920 and 1930 when a significant amount of Lock Ness Monster sightings occurred.
"We know that this was a period with increased activity of the fault, in reality people have seen the effects of the earthquakes on the water," Piccardi said.
Piccardi’s hypothesis that the Great Glen fault, which stretches more than 62 miles and divides the northern and southern halves of the Scottish Highlands, is responsible for the Lock Ness Monster sightings may not hold much weight when considering when the most recent earthquakes occurred.
Aside from the obvious question of how a geological force could cause people to see a large, unrecognizable animal in the water, Scientific American noted that of the minor earthquakes produced by the fault with a magnitude 3 or greater in recent centuries, the last recorded were in 1816, 1888, 1890 and 1901. Not in the 1920s as Piccardi suggests.
Further, during the great earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, which reportedly generated waves across Lock Ness, not a single sighting of the legendary monster was reported all year.
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The Loch Ness Monster first gained international attention in the 1930s via a widely publicized photo taken by London surgeon named Kenneth Wilson. The photo, which showed a creature with a serpentine head and neck riding above the waves, was later proven to be a hoax, NBC News reported.
The lake remains one of Scotland’s largest tourist attractions.
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