World War II aircraft carrier, the USS Independence discovered after 64 years
Undersea exploration yielded a remarkable discovery recently when a World War II aircraft carrier was located surprisingly intact. The Aircraft carrier discovered underwater near the Farallon Islands off California was none other than the famous USS Independence which was sunk from an atomic blast 64 years ago.
The USS Independence was famous for hard fought battles in the pacific where a number of air missions were launched from it to fight the Japanese during World War II. The ship a massive 622 feet long vessel was found well preserved as if ready to do battle again. Scientists of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration are utterly amazed at the fact that after all these years the USS Independence has been found.
1 After Long Drawn Battles in World War II the Ship Became an Object of Nuclear Testing
The exploration for discovering the aircraft carrier was done using an AUV or an autonomous underwater vehicle named the ‘Echo Ranger”. The scientists used 3 D sonar imaging to get an imprint of the ship which they then found astonishingly intact complete with airplane hangars and all fittings.
The USS Independence fought in the Pacific Ocean from November 1943 to August 1945. Unfortunately though the vessel ended up part of a naval fleet upon which atomic strikes were conducted to record the effects of atomic explosions on a naval fleet. The military project named Operation crossroads used two types of atomic bomb strikes one on the surface and the other underwater. Nuclear testing continued till 1958 which also included the test of the first Hydrogen bomb in 1952
2 Damaged From Atomic Blasts, the Ship Was Sunk and Then Lost Underwater
Like all the other ships that took part in operation crossroads, the USS Independence too was damaged by the nuclear explosions. After a series of radiation tests were conducted on it while moored in the naval shipyard at Hunters point San Francisco, the navy ultimately sank the ship in 1951. These facts were issued by an NOAA statement. While the location of the USS Independence was documented at the time of sinking, it was found later that the figures were wrong resulting in the ship getting lost.
3 Thanks To the Echo Ranger and Sonar Imaging the USS Independence Has Been Found
The recent multibeam echo sounding survey provided evidence of an extremely large object in the depths of the waters. The images were fuzzy and hence the object couldn’t really be identified stated James Delgado the chief researcher on the mission to find the independence. In April NOAA scientists led by Delgado used sonar imaging to find the wreck. The entire project took two years to pinpoint, map and locate the exact position of the USS Independence which lay beneath the Farallones Gulf of California. An 18 foot long robot called the Echo ranger was then submerged into the sea to find the vessel lying 2,600 feet deep in the water.
4 Radioactive Particles Still Cling To the Ship Which Will Be Resurfaced For Testing
The results of the imaging were particular astonishing because the scientists found the vessel to be standing upright but tilted on the starboard side. The flight deck and hull were all intact although the damages from the explosion were pretty much there. Fission fragments from plutonium decay was also present in the ship. The radioactive material doesn’t pose a threat as researchers believe it will be diluted in the water acting as a shield against it. Scientists plan to remove parts of the ship son to enable a study of the long term effects of radiation.