The Mapimí Silent Zone (Spanish: La Zona del Silencio) is the popular name for a desert patch near the Bolsón de Mapimí in Durango, Mexico, overlapping the Mapimí Biosphere Reserve. It is the subject of an urban legend that claims it is an area where radio signals and any type of communications cannot be received.[1][2]

Zone of Silence
  • La Zona del Silencio
  • Triad Vertex
LocationMapimí Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
CoordinatesMaps 26°41′N 103°45′W / 26.683°N 103.750°W / 26.683; -103.750
Operated byMunicipality of Mapimí

History and legends Edit

The area was once an ancient seabed in the Tethys Ocean, which left marine fossils and large salt deposits which are mined today.[3]

In July 1970, an Athena RTV test rocket launched from the Green River Launch Complex in Utah towards the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico lost control and fell in the Mapimí Desert region.[4] When the rocket went off course, it was carrying two small containers of cobalt 57,[5][6] an isotope used in "salted bombs" to intentionally contaminate large areas of land.[4] As part of the cleanup effort, hundreds of tons of soil were removed from the impact site.[4]

As a result of the US Air Force recovery operation, a number of myths and legends relating to the area arose. Reportedly, a local resident hired to guard the crash debris during recovery operations helped spread these rumors. Legends include "strange magnetic anomalies that prevent radio transmission", mutations of flora and fauna, and extraterrestrial visitations,[1][2] which have been used by locals to promote tourism in the region.[4]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Eckles, Jim (n.d.). "The Athena That Got Away". White Sands Missile Range. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008.
  2. ^ a b Kaus, Andrea (n.d.). "The Zone Of Silence of northern Mexico: scientific marvel or just fiction?". MexConnect. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  3. ^ Wilson, T. E. (3 November 2016). "Exploring Mexico's Zone of Silence, Where Radio Signals Fail and Meteorites Crash". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Barclay, Michael (July 13, 2015). "USAF Accidentally Launched Rocket into Mexico's Mapimi Desert 45 Years Ago". Unredacted. The National Security Archive. Retrieved March 12, 2022.
  5. ^ Associated Press (August 4, 1970). "Mexicans Find Radioactive Cone". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved July 27, 2015 – via Google News.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Associated Press (August 4, 1970). "Mexicans Find Errant Rocket". The Toledo Blade. Archived from the original on October 23, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2015 – via Google News.

Further reading Edit