MH370 was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, on March 8, 2014, when the jet mysteriously disappeared with 239 people on board. Captain Zaharie Shah last communicated with air traffic control at 1:19am while flying over the South China Sea. Moments later, the plane vanished from civilian radar following a routine handover from Malaysian to Vietnamese channels.
Over the past five years, investigators from around the world have probed the Southern Indian Ocean hoping to find the remains of MH370 with little luck.
The only success so far has come from floating debris, including a flaperon discovered on Reunion island.
However, a mathematics professor from Cardiff University proposed a new theory on where the jet may have hit the surface of the ocean.
Usama Kadri used underwater acoustic waves picked up by a hydrophone – or underwater microphone – placed in the Indian Ocean.
When acoustic-gravity waves start travelling through the sea floor their propagation speed boosts to over 3,500 m/s, from the 1,500m/s they would have been travelling at through the water.
Previous analysis considered the sea floor to be rigid, which would not allow the radiating waves to move through it.
However, if the elasticity of the sea floor is taken into account then the waves will travel at this enhanced speed.
Dr Kadri said in January: “When you drop a pebble in a lake, water waves are generated from the location of the impact, while sound waves create the splashing noise you hear.
“Another type of wave is generated inside the water too –hydroacoustic.
“Similar to a sound wave, hydroacoustic waves move much faster through the denser water than they would through the air – 1,500 metres per second.
“Similarly, when a large object, such as a meteorite or plane, impact violently at the surface of an ocean, it generates large surface waves and a family of sound waves that come from a sudden change in pressure known as acoustic-gravity waves.
“These can travel thousands of kilometres through the water, carrying vital information on the source of the impact, before dissipating.”
Dr Kadri’s study used readings from two hydroacoustic stations locations – the first dubbed HA01, near Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia, while the second, known as HA08s, is at Diego Garcia.
Previous studies have mostly looked at the signals collected by station HA01 between 00:00-02:00 UTC on March 8, 2014.
However, using the new calculations, a search area from data provided from HA01 differed.
HA08 proved more difficult due to interference, believed to have been caused by a military exercise in the ocean.
As a result, the second proposed location appears to be distant from the seventh arc.
However, if the signals are related to MH370, they would suggest a new impact location altogether, meaning a different route was taken to that investigated for the last few years.