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Methodologies for Surveying and Assessing Deep-Water Munitions Disposal Sites

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The Hawaii Undersea Military Munitions Assessment (HUMMA) was designed to develop methodologies for surveying and assessing a historic deep-water munitions sea disposal site to determine the potential impact of the ocean environment on sea-disposed munitions and of sea-disposed munitions on the ocean environment and those that use it. HUMMA is the most comprehensive deep-water investigation conducted in the United States to look at both chemical and conventional munitions. Recognizing that each sea-disposed munitions site poses unique logistical and environmental challenges, the HUMMA approach emphasizes adaptability. Here, we describe the techniques used to determine the spatial extent and distribution of munitions, evaluate the integrity of munitions casings, and sample sediments and seawater near munitions present at water depths ranging from 330 to 550 m. We discuss integration and management of the diverse and voluminous datasets that the program produced. Notable results from HUMMA include demonstrating that reconnaissance-style mapping effectively locates distinctive trails of disposed munitions in sandy environments and that visual observations, in combination with acoustic data, constrain the poorly documented historical disposal process. Based on our findings, we conclude with several suggested future avenues of research for evaluating sea-disposed munitions sites.
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Keywords: SONAR mapping; sampling and assessment; sea-disposed military munitions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2012

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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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