Sightings of Loch Ness Monster Explained by Geological Fault

Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi claims that activity along a fault line that runs beneath the Scottish Highlands could be responsible for a spate of “Nessie” sightings in the 1930s the reignited the myth of there being a monster in Loch Ness.  Loch Ness itself, was formed around twelve thousand years ago and its dark, cold, peaty waters are more than seven hundred feet deep in places.

Loch Ness Monster

The geologist has postulated that a fault line that runs for 62 miles beneath the Scottish Highlands could be responsible for sightings of “Nessie”.  Loch Ness lies over the Great Glen Fault, a line of weakness in the strata that once marked the boundary between two continents back in the Devonian.  Erosion during the Quaternary led to the formation of many deep basins which after the ice retreated at the end of the last Ice Age, left large bodies of water trapped in these basins, one such body of water became Loch Ness.

Occasional Tremors Mistaken for Monster

As a researcher at the CNR – the Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, based in Bologna, ( Italy), Luigi claims that although the fault is now very inactive, occasional tremors would cause surface distortions on the Loch and these could be mistaken for a monster.

The Great Glen Fault was relatively active in the 1920s and 1930s and this led to numerous reports of a strange beast lurking in the Loch’s deep waters.  A number of photographs were taken, apparently showing a large animal with a serpentine head.  The most famous of these, a picture known as the “surgeon’s photograph”, was allegedly taken by a London gynaecologist Dr Robert Kenneth Wilson.  This photograph, showing an image of a head and a long, swan-like neck was taken in 1934.  It caused a sensation when first published but over recent years the photograph has been discredited and many believe that it is a clever fake.

However, the geologist points out that as the Great Glen Fault was particularly active in the 1920s and 1930s the majority of reported sightings could be attributed to disturbances caused by Fault movements.

He stated:

“There are various effects on the surface of the water that can be related to the activity of the Fault.  We know that this was a period [1920-1930] with increased activity of the Fault. In reality, people have seen the effects of the earthquakes on the water.”

“Nessie” as the monster is affectionately known, is thought by some people to be a plesiosaur, a type of marine reptile from the Mesozoic with a small head, long neck, large body and four flippers.  The plesiosaurs are believed to have become extinct at the very end of the Cretaceous geological period around sixty-five million years ago.

A Typical Plesiosaur – Is this Nessie?

Nessie or the consequences of a geological fault?

Nessie or the consequences of a geological fault?

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

British Government Believed in Nessie

Recently released records indicate that the British Government believed in the existence of a monster in the Loch.  Intriguingly, there are a number of large lakes in the Northern Hemisphere which are associated with monster legends.  This phenomenon is not just linked to the Scottish Highlands but Ireland, Sweden, Norway, the United States and Canada all over their own “Lake Monsters”.

To view an article on the British Government’s views on “Nessie”: British Officials Believed in the Loch Ness Monster.

Sightings do still occur and this summer visitors to the Loch will be busy scanning the surface of the water to see if Nessie raises its head out of the depths.  The last photograph, showing a brownish hump in the water, perhaps a monster or as many people have suggested an upturned rowing boat, was snapped in 2010.  With the advent of cameras and film recorders in phones, photographs of suspected monsters are likely to increase once again, as tourists visiting various lakes in the northern hemisphere take snap-shots of the so called beasties.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“One could imagine a large vertebrate living in the vast, largely unexplored depths of the Pacific or Indian Oceans, but it is difficult to imagine a viable population of air breathing, marine reptiles remaining hidden in a body of water such as Loch Ness.  It [Loch Ness] may hold as much water in it as all the freshwater lakes of England and Wales combined, but I really doubt the existence of any large creatures that could be called monsters lurking in Loch Ness.”

Do you believe in the Loch Ness Monster?

To view the range of plesiosaur models and replicas in stock at Everything Dinosaur: Prehistoric Animal Models including Sea Monsters.

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