The Silent Zone is the popular name for a desert patch near the Bolson de Mapimí in northern Mexico. It is located between the states of Durango, Chihuahua, and Coahuila, between parallels 26 and 28, in a place known as "Trino Vertex".
In the past, the Silent Zone was submerged under the Tethys Ocean. This explains maritime fossils present in the area. The zone is home of a concentration of meteorite fractions. It is known for being home of rare species, such as an endemic version of the desert tortoise and the purple cactus.
On July 11, 1970 an Athena rocket belonging to the US Air Force apparently lost control, invaded Mexican air space, and landed in the region. The rocket was carrying two small containers of Cobalt 57, a radioactive element. Immediately, a team of specialists arrived to find the fallen rocket. The aerial search extended over three weeks. Finally, when the rocket was found, a road was made to transport the wreckage, as well as a small amount of contaminated top soil. All operations were made under high security, spurring rumors and myths about the area.
The area is called the "Silent Zone" because of a myth which states that radio waves cannot be transmitted due to local magnetic fields. The Silent Zone frequently is compared to the Bermuda Triangle, the Egyptian Pyramids, and the Sacred Cities of Tibet, all being located between parallels 26 and 28.
It was first reported in the 1930s by Francisco Sarabia, a Mexican pilot, who claimed that his radio had mysteriously failed to function while flying over the zone. Claims have been made by other persons who have visited the zone, that radio signals were lost and compasses unusable. Other claims are that the area attracts meteorites and causes various mental problems.
Many myths relating to the Silent Zone were born shortly after the US Air Force operation:
No documented evidence exists to support any of these claims.
After gaining fame for being a hot-spot of paranormal activity, it was flooded with tourists in search of UFOs, or cultists wanting to use the area for rituals. The fossil banks were sacked, only to be replaced by a circle of giant tourist-made Stars of David for "rituals of intergalactic connections". Many other archaeological pieces disappeared thanks to the curious masses. Given the poverty of the locals, many of them sell fossils found on banks that are unknown to tourists. Eventually, the cacti and the exotic desert tortoise were brought to the brink of extinction.