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Does Erosion Corrosion Account for Intriguing Damage to the Civil War Submarine H.L. Hunley?1

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Abstract:

Abstract

Excavation of the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley, raised from the seabed off Charleston, South Carolina, has revealed large hull breaches in the fore and aft sections of the vessel. Initially, the damage was thought to have occurred the night the pioneering submarine sank in 1864, but recent hull forensic studies indicate that the two largest breaches in the submarine’s ballast tanks occurred due to natural and site-specific seabed conditions and did not contribute to the submarine’s demise. To reconstruct and interpret these conditions, a new methodology has been developed that utilizes forensic data embedded in the marine concretion covering the iron hull. Results from an experiment conducted to test the theory further support the notion that the largest breaches were likely caused by the combined effects of erosion and corrosion of the iron hull in the marine environment.

Keywords: biofouling; concretion; erosion corrosion; shipwreck hull forensics; site formation; structured-light scanning

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4031/MTSJ.46.6.2

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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