Mapimí Silent Zone

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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; -103.750Coordinates: Maps 26°41′N 103°45′W / 26.683°N 103.750°W / 26.683; -103.750
Operated byMunicipality of Mapimí

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 myth that claims it is an area where radio signals and any type of communications cannot be received.[1][2]

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. When the rocket went off-course, it was carrying two small containers of cobalt 57, a radioactive element.[4][5] NASA rocket engineer and Nazi Rocket Scientist Wernher von Braun was sent from the US to investigate the crash.[3]

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] The area has been compared to the Bermuda Triangle, and the legends have been used to promote tourism in the region.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eckles, Jim. "The Athena That Got Away". White Sands Missile Range. Retrieved 21 February 2011.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b Kaus, Andrea. "The Zone Of Silence of northern Mexico – scientific marvel or just fiction?". MexConnect. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b c 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. ^ Associated Press (August 4, 1970). "Mexicans Find Radioactive Cone". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved July 27, 2015 – via Google News.
  5. ^ Associated Press (August 4, 1970). "Mexicans Find Errant Rocket". The Toledo Blade. Retrieved July 27, 2015 – via Google News.

Further reading[edit]