The Top Unsolved Scientific Mysteries

By Rosunnara R.Last Updated Apr 18, 2020 9:20:00 PM ET
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Thanks to science, we know a lot about the world around us, but there are still plenty of mysteries that experts can’t explain. Scientists are still puzzled by the secrets of the Taos Hum, the Japanese "Atlantis" and Egypt’s Great Pyramids, just to name a few.

Will we ever know the truth about all the strange phenomena left behind by the ancient world and the universe? Check out our list of the most famous unsolved scientific mysteries that are just begging for answers.    

The Taos Hum Phenomenon

In the small town of Taos, New Mexico, you may hear a buzzing or humming sound that won’t go away. It’s not a bee or a mosquito, and it’s definitely not just you. The people of Taos have heard the weird hum since the early 1990s.

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Is it military experiments? Low-frequency electromagnetic radiation? Regardless of its origin, the townspeople got so annoyed with the humming that they complained to Congress in 1993. Multiple studies were conducted to figure out where the hum was coming from, and researchers found nothing. The mysterious humming lives on today.

An Ancient Computer

This recreation of an artifact doesn’t look like much, but scientists believe it was the first computer — a 2,000 year-old computer to be exact. The device, also known as the Antikythera mechanism, was found in a shipwreck in 1901.

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Ancient Greeks used the Antikythera mechanism to calculate astronomical events, like eclipses and the moon’s movements. The coolest part is that it could predict the events decades in advance. The weird part is the technology disappeared until the 14th century.

Saturn’s Bizarre Hexagon

Located on the north pole of Saturn, a cloud in the shape of a hexagon defies a scientific explanation for its formation. The massive hexagon was first discovered in 1981, and it has remained a giant question mark since then.

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With sides 9,000 miles long, the hexagon is longer than Earth's diameter. Another weird thing? The hexagon changed colors between 2012 and 2016. It went from a blue color to a gold color. Why? It’s a total mystery. Scientists don’t have a clue.

Jelly Rain

It’s raining…blobs of jelly? Jelly rain, better known as star jelly, has been found stuck in trees and laying on grass. It has appeared several times, including once in 1846 in Lowville, New York, and another time in 1994 in Oakville, Washington.

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Folklore says the jelly comes from meteor showers, while scientists think it’s frog, toad or worm remains. Other folks link the blobs to the paranormal. Whatever it is, scientists have failed to extract any DNA from the jelly because it dissolves too quickly. As a result, no one knows where the goop comes from or what it is.

Aliens at Area 51?

Area 51 is a top-secret facility, so nobody knows much about it, other than it’s a military base. Many people think it’s actually the site of a huge cover-up and the facility is hiding space aliens. Area 51 has been the subject of extraterrestrial rumors since 1947, when conspiracy theorists first claimed an alien craft crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, and officials transported the vessel and the aliens to Area 51.

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A Facebook event posting lists September 20, 2019, as the date for people to raid the military base. Although the event was posted for fun and laughs, government officials warn attendees to not trespass. Will the 2 million people who clicked "attending" find out what’s beyond the gates?

Missing Ships and Planes in the Bermuda Triangle

Notorious for the vanishing of ships and airplanes, the Bermuda Triangle is the area between Puerto Rico, Bermuda and Miami. Paranormal investigators blame everything from monsters and aliens to time warps for the mysterious disappearances. Scientists think it’s probably just waterspouts or methane gas eruptions.

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One of the most well-known disappearances was Flight 19 in 1945. Five navy bombers carrying 14 men flew through the Bermuda Triangle, but their compasses malfunctioned, and they went missing. A rescue plane and its crew also disappeared that same day.

Although the Bermuda Triangle has a bad reputation, people travel through the area every day with no problems, and the U.S. Coast Guard hasn’t found any "extraordinary factors."

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The Unknown South Atlantic Flash

In 1979, Vela satellites recorded an unknown double flash near Antarctica. This event became known as the Vela Incident. What caused the mystery flashes? Researchers believe a nuclear explosion is responsible because satellites previously detected 41 identical double flashes that were known nuclear weapon tests.

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More questions surfaced when no one owned up to the double flash. Was it really a nuclear explosion or something else? Some experts believe a meteoroid hit the satellite, while others still think it was a nuclear test conducted by South Africa and Israel.

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Japan’s Atlantis

Atlantis, is that you? Underneath the waters of Japan, a massive stone formation called the Yonaguni Monument fascinates the world. A diver found the huge stones in 1986, and researchers have visited the site ever since. They discovered the monument is at least 10,000 years old.

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Some geologists claim the formations are man-made, while others suggest they are entirely natural. A possible pyramid, castles, roads and stadium were identified at the site. Others argued that strong currents formed the monument, but they couldn’t explain the pottery, stone tools and fireplaces that were also found there. None of the theories on the monument’s origins have been proven — so the mystery continues.

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Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

On March 8, 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport and never reached its destination. After only 38 minutes of flying, it lost contact with air traffic control. The plane and its 227 passengers and 12-man crew simply vanished.

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A military radar tracked the plane for another hour and confirmed the aircraft flew in the wrong direction before it went missing. Only several pieces of debris have ever been found. As a result, everyone on board is presumed dead. Experts speculate hypoxia, hijacking or crew involvement caused the disappearance.

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The Bloop: Giant Creature or…?

In 1997, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) detected an ultra-low-frequency, high amplitude underwater sound. Experts thought the sound came from an animal, but the strange part is no animal on Earth can make such a powerful call.

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The undetermined sound earned the name Bloop. In 2012, experts claimed the sound was similar to ice breaking off glaciers or ice hitting the seabed, but no one really knows. Is it mermaids, Godzilla or just natural glacial movements?

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The Oak Island Booby Trap

Near the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, a bizarre hole with even weirder objects inside can be found on Oak Island. Since its discovery in 1795, many explorers have tried to see what’s hidden at the site. Reports of buried treasure and artifacts inside the hole began circulating and caused excitement.

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However, those who dared to enter the site encountered layers of oak platforms, stones with weird symbols and floodings. It’s so dangerous that six people lost their lives during the many excavations.

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Thanks to all the obstacles in the pit, no one will ever know what’s really down there. Did someone purposely set booby traps in the hole? Scientists believe it’s just a natural sinkhole connected to caves.

Submarine Disappearances in 1968

One missing submarine is strange, so when a total of four submarines disappeared in 1968, it became a huge mystery. The missing subs included the USS Scorpion, a Soviet submarine called K-129, an Israeli submarine called INS Dakar and a French submarine called Minerve.

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The INS Dakar and Minerve went missing within four days of each other. Only a few parts of the Soviet, Israeli and French submarines have ever been found. The fate of the U.S. submarine remains a mystery, and researchers still don’t know why any of the submarines disappeared (and were presumably destroyed).

Saddle Ridge Hoard

In 2013, the story of buried treasure became a reality in Sierra Nevada, California, when a total of 1,427 gold coins worth $10 million were found hidden in the ground. It’s the biggest discovery of gold coins ever seen in the country.

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Due to the location of the find, the coins became known as the Saddle Ridge Hoard. Many theories exist for the gold’s origin, ranging from the 1901 theft of gold coins from the San Francisco Mint to a hidden stash belonging to bank robber Jesse James. However, no one has ever identified the original owner of the coins.

Skyquakes

Boom! It’s a cannon. No, it must be thunder. Nope, it’s actually — skyquakes? What in the world is that? Skyquakes are unknown banging sounds coming from the sky. The loud booms have been heard all over the planet, including the U.S. and Japan.

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In Japan, locals call skyquakes "cries from the sea," while in the U.S., people call them "Seneca guns." Nobody knows where the loud noises come from, but there are many hypotheses. Some scientists believe the sounds are caused by meteors entering the atmosphere, volcanic eruptions or collapsing underwater caves.

The Iron Pillar That Never Rusts

A 13,000-pound pillar stands in the Qutb complex in Delhi, India. Some researchers believe its origin dates back to 402 CE, but the exact date has been heavily debated. The best part about the pillar is that it’s resistant to rust and corrosion, even though it’s entirely made of iron. Whoa!

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After thousands of years of monsoons and strong winds in India, the pillar has stood strong. Scientists believe a passive protective film made of iron, oxygen and hydrogen surrounds the post. However, if that’s true, then why isn’t this technique found anywhere else? No one can explain why the technology used on the iron pillar would have been abandoned, but it’s proof of highly skilled ironsmiths from ancient India.

The Strongest Proof of an Alien Signal

On August 15, 1977, Dr. Jerry R. Ehman detected a signal that supported the theory of extraterrestrial intelligence. Using the Big Ear radio telescope, Ehman searched the universe for life beyond Earth, and he received a compelling narrowband radio signal from the constellation Sagittarius.

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Ehman was so impressed by the findings that he printed the details, circled the number that represented the signal and wrote the comment "Wow!" next to it. The signal lasted for 72 seconds and has never been detected again. Researchers argue that it’s just a natural phenomenon or man-made creation, but there’s no evidence to support those theories.

An Explosion That Came from Out of Nowhere

On June 30, 1908, a giant fireball flew over and exploded in the wilderness of Tunguska, Siberia. The impact killed several animals, millions of trees and supposedly three humans. With an explosion that was bigger than 1,000 atomic bombs, the Tunguska event is the largest impact on Earth.

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Scientists assumed a meteor caused the explosion, but no crater or meteor content was ever found. Others disagreed and suggested 10 million tons of natural gas destroyed Tunguska. Regardless, the force of the explosion could have wiped out a metropolitan city.

The Disappearance of the Roanoke Colony

When 121 colonists disappear without a trace, something seriously weird must have transpired. That’s exactly what happened in Roanoke Island, North Carolina, in 1587. John White, the governor of the established colony, traveled to England to bring back supplies for the settlement.

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After three years, White finally returned to the colony, only to find that his family and all the colonists had mysteriously vanished. Only the word "Croatoan" carved into a tree was found. Researchers believe the colonists were killed or joined Native American villages. However, no hard evidence has been found, and the fate of the colonists remains a mystery to this day.

The Unreadable Book

Researchers have failed to decode the strange language in a medieval book called the Voynich Manuscript. The handwritten book comes with weird text, painted illustrations and diagrams. Many pages contain text written in ink and pictures of alien-like plants or nude figures.

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The Voynich Manuscript has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring many codebreakers to try to decipher the mysterious text. The book has also influenced several books of fiction. Although many people have tried to crack the code, the purpose and origin of the manuscript remain unknown.

Amelia Earhart Vanished

Amelia Earhart inspired other women to become aviators by becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. The journey took 15 hours and involved a burning engine, but Earhart managed to fly from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, to Derry, Ireland.

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In 1937, Earhart tried to fly around the world, but vanished while flying over the Pacific Ocean. Speculation ranges from crashing to being captured by the Japanese. What really happened to her? Despite the many theories scientists have formed, no one really knows the truth about her disappearance.

Stonehenge

One of the most famous monuments of all time, Stonehenge still has researchers scratching their heads. Standing on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, the site is made up of upright stones and stone arches forming a circle. But who built it? Aliens? The devil? Glaciers?

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The questions don’t stop there. No one knows how the massive structure was formed or how the four-ton stones were carried from more than 200 miles away in Wales. How could that have been possible 5,000 years ago? Each year, researchers make exciting new finds that may eventually uncover the mysteries of Stonehenge.

The Moon Landing Conspiracy

Was Neil Armstrong's giant leap for mankind real? Some experts claim the moon landing on July 20, 1969, never happened. Nobody walked on the moon or even got near it. Skeptics think it was all staged and filmed in Hollywood.

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The moon landing conspiracy remains popular to this day, and the evidence that supports the theories is pretty wild. Conspiracy theorists question many things about the event, from the shadows in the pictures to a rock labeled with a "C." NASA says the moon landing was not a hoax. What do you believe?

Kryptos

In Langley, Virgina, the CIA headquarters is home to a bizarre 12-foot-tall statue by artist Jim Sanborn. He displayed the copper statue in 1990 and named it Kryptos. It's certainly not your ordinary statue. In fact, Sanborn put four hidden messages with 1,800 characters in it.

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Three of the messages have been decoded, but the fourth message has become one of the top unsolved codes in the world. The statue attracts amateur and professional cryptanalysts who attempt to decipher the fourth message. Sanborn even gave clues for the last message, but nobody has been able to uncover its meaning.

Mysterious Booms from Deep Space

Scientists jumped for joy after receiving messages from deep space in 2007 — the signals originated 7.9 billion light-years away — but they quickly became puzzled. They couldn't figure out what caused the signals, also known as fast radio bursts.

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These bursts are among the most insane and mind-blowing scientific discoveries on record. The source of the fast radio bursts became a guessing game. Many researchers assume the messages come from dying black holes or stars, but some believe the signals come from aliens.

Patomskiy Crater

A 350-year-old rock formation located in Siberia has long had scientists running around for answers. Patomskiy Crater, also called "Fire Eagle Nest," is made of shattered limestone blocks, but scientists are uncertain of the crater’s origin. Is it a meteorite? Maybe even the Tunguska meteorite?

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Other hypotheses give it a volcanic and gaseous origin. Regardless, the crater is one giant, heavy mystery. With a diameter of 520 feet and a height of 130 feet, the Patomskiy Crater weighs about one million tons. Russian geologist Vadim Kolpakov discovered the crater in 1949, and it has caught the attention of many scientists since that time.

Humpback Whale “Super Groups”

Humpback whales have been known to be solitary, but these days they’ve been feeding in massive groups of 20 to 200. What on earth is causing the behavior? Scientists say they've never seen anything like this and find the sudden change of behavior interesting.

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Adding to the mystery, humpback whales are also switching up their feeding grounds. Usually, they eat near Antarctica during the summer, but they’ve been grubbing near South Africa in recent years. Scientists think an increase in their population may be the reason they’re eating together and changing their usual dining spot.

Dark Matter

A big part of the universe is dark matter, but the makeup of that dark matter remains unknown. Some experts think it’s made of unidentifiable particles or ancient black holes, but nothing has ever been proven.

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Dark matter doesn't emit or reflect light, and scientists have yet to observe it directly. However, they can detect dark matter because it bends light if there's enough of it present. It also supports gravitational pulls so planets and galaxies can form. Some scientists don't actually believe dark matter exists, insisting instead that galaxies are created by something we haven't discovered yet.

Hidden Void in Egypt’s Great Pyramid

What is the Great Pyramid of Giza hiding? Built more than 4,500 years ago, the Great Pyramid is where pharaoh Khufu rests. Thanks to particle physics, a hidden void was found in the largest pyramid in Egypt. More than 100 feet long, the void looks like the pyramid's Grand Gallery.

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However, scientists are at a loss to explain its existence and the purpose for the newly found section. Is it a burial chamber? A secret construction passage? No one knows, but scientists plan to create tiny robots to get more answers.

Giant Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

The stone spheres of Costa Rica look like boring lawn ornaments. However, they're actually prehistoric artifacts with unknown origins. Scientists can't identify how the balls were formed, but they know the United Fruit Company found the stones in the jungle in the 1930s.

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Some stones weigh almost 15 tons and have a diameter of 6.6 feet. All the balls weren’t made from the same stone. Some are made of shell-rich limestone, and some are sandstone. Several myths claim the stones came from Atlantis, but scientists believe they belong to the extinct Diquis culture. Today, a total of 300 stone balls have been discovered across Costa Rica.

Cursed Shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico

Deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico, a 200-year-old wooden shipwreck rests on the ocean floor. Although the ship was discovered in 2003, studying it has been an extreme challenge. Machines mysteriously break down every time scientists get close to the vessel, inspiring many to claim the ship is cursed. One rover sent to the wreck smashed into the side of the ship. Another retrieved an artifact but then dropped it, never to be seen again.

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Scientists believe the ship and those onboard met a fiery end, and the vessel sank 2,600 feet to the bottom. Is the ship cursed? Haunted? The name of the vessel, who it belonged to and why it was near Louisiana remain a mystery.