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People in Canada's Arctic are straining for an explanation for a mysterious sound apparently detected off Baffin Island.

Mysterious sound detected in Canada's Arctic

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Thursday, November 3, 2016, 5:27 PM - People in Canada's Arctic are straining for an explanation for a mysterious sound detected off Baffin Island.

CBC News reports says local hunters, from the nearby community of Igloolik, describe the sound as a "ping" or "hum," apparently coming from the sea floor in the Fury and Hecla Strait, a narrow waterway that separates northern Baffin Island from mainland Nunavut.

Several people claim to have heard it this past summer, including passengers aboard a yacht in the area and several callers into a community radio show running a segment on the subject, according to CBC News (which says its staff have not heard the sound or spoken to anyone who claims to).

The noise is seen as a serious problem for area hunters, who say it's scaring away fish and wildlife, according to Nunavut lawmakers.

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"That passage is a migratory route for bowhead whales, and also bearded seals and ringed seals. There would be so many in that particular area. This summer there was none," George Qulaut, an MLA who is a former hunter, told CBC News.

At Nunavut's request, the Canadian Forces dispatched a CP-140 Aurora aircraft to survey the site, but though the crew did sight six walruses and two pods of whales, they found no trace of the sound.

"According to Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier, the Aurora’s crew "[The crew] performed various multi-sensor searches in the area, including an acoustic search for 1.5 hours, without detecting any acoustic anomalies," Dan Le Bouthillier, a spokesman with the Department of National Defense, told the National Post. "The crew did not detect any surface or subsurface contacts."

CBC says there have been a few theories floated around as the the source of the noise, including sonar surveys by a nearby mining company (the company in question, Baffinland, says it hasn't conducted any this summer). Another theory: A deliberate attempt by Greenpeace or other environmental groups to drive away wildlife to save them from the hunters, which Greenpeace has denied.

"Not only would we not do anything to harm marine life, but we very much respect the right of Inuit to hunt and would definitely not want to impact that in any way," spokeswoman Farrah Khan told the CBC.

Canada is no stranger to unexplained sounds, with the most famous being the Windsor Hum, though evidence suggests it may be just one manifestation of a more general "world hum."

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SOURCES: CBC News | National Post

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