MH370 7th arc new search area map
A map released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau shows the 7th arc within the Indian Ocean ATSB

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 has been moved to another area of the southern Indian Ocean dubbed "the 7th arc", after new analysis of satellite communications from the aircraft.

Australian officials confirmed the new target area after completing a search of the previous location with no sign of wreckage.

"The latest information and analysis confirms that MH370 will be found in close proximity to the arc," the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a statement quoted by USA Today.

"At the time MH370 reached this arc, the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending."

The bureau stated that the plane is likely to have crashed within 60 miles of the arc, which sweeps across a huge area of the ocean. According to officials, the search will focus on a 17,500 sq m area.

The location of the 7th arc, in relation to the area already combed by a US underwater drone, is not clear. Bluefin-21, an autonomous mini-submarine, completed an unsuccessful search of the Indian Ocean seabed at the end of May, in the area originally believed to be the crash zone.

It was not immediately clear where the 7th arc, shown below on a map provided by the ATSB, lies in relation to the area already searched by a US Navy robotic submarine. The Bluefin 21 sub concluded its search of a section of the Indian Ocean floor, which investigators had believed was the most likely crash zone, at the end of May.

Last week, the Joint Australian Coordination Center said the submersible Bluefin-21 has finished sweeping the ocean floor in the vicinity of the acoustic signals detected in early April by the Tower Pinger Locator, which was deployed from the Australian defence vessel Ocean Shield.

The JACC said in a statement that "in its professional judgement, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370."

Another underwater search will begin in August and take up to 12 months, the JACC said.

The plane, with 239 passengers and crew aboard, disappeared on 8 March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Earlier this week, deep-sea microphones picked up a sound that may have been MH370 crashing into the Indian Ocean, according to Australian researchers. It was detected by a series of underwater sensors, some of which were set up by the UN to monitor nuclear tests.

However, the scientists from Curtin University in Western Australia stressed that the likelihood of a connection to the plane could be as low as 10%. They also stated that a natural event, such as an earthquake, may have been the source.