One geoscientist has attempted to find out where the plane came down by analyzing barnacles stuck to the debris.
Exactly what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after it took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8, 2014 still remains one of the most enduring mysteries in aviation history.
Numerous theories have arisen over the years, but by now it seems increasingly likely that the plane and its passengers were flown intentionally to their doom by its pilot for reasons unknown.
Locating the wreckage, however, has proven almost impossible, with extensive search efforts conducted over several years failing to locate the whereabouts of the plane.
Now in a renewed bid to determine where MH370 might have crashed, Associate Professor Gregory Herbert of the University of South Florida has come up with a novel new method that involves analyzing the barnacles found stuck to the debris to determine its drift path through the ocean.
“The flaperon was covered in barnacles and as soon as I saw that, I immediately began sending emails to the search investigators because I knew the geochemistry of their shells could provide clues to the crash location,” he said.
Barnacles grow their shells every day and each layer contains information about the surrounding water.
By analyzing the barnacles from the debris, Herbert and colleagues managed to create a partial drift reconstruction, though at this time it is far from complete.
“Sadly, the largest and oldest barnacles have not yet been made available for research, but with this study, we’ve proven this method can be applied to a barnacle that colonized on the debris shortly after the crash to reconstruct a complete drift path back to the crash origin,” he said.