The mystery of the Loch Ness monster may have been solved by a geologist.
The serpentine Scottish beast which supposedly haunts the murky waters of Loch Ness in the Highlands has fired imaginations since 1933.
Believed by many to be the last of a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs (a Jurassic marine reptile) legend has it that the creature appears along with earth tremors and swirling bubbles.
Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi has now floated the idea that a fault line that runs for 62 miles beneath the Scottish Highlands could be responsible for sightings of "Nessie."
Crediting the Great Glen fault system for reported sightings of the legendary beast, he told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
"There are various effects on the surface of the water that can be related to the activity of the fault," he said, supporting his theory by pointing to when the monster was first spotted.
"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."
However he did not offer an explanation for pictures of the monster. "Nessie" first hit headlines in 1934 when the Daily Mail published the above picture. The photo was later revealed to have been staged, but there has been no shortage of photographs since. In 2012 A sailor who spent 26 years searching for the Loch Ness Monster has what he believes is the best ever picture taken of the elusive beast.
This argument was used to support the existence of Nessie by Gary Campbell, president of the Loch Ness Monster Fan Club in Inverness, Scotland.
"Most of the sightings involve foreign objects coming out of the water. There's two most common -- one's a hump, and the other is a head and neck," Campbell told ABC News. "At the end of the day, there's still sightings that are inexplicable. There's something physical in there."