Thursday, November 11, 2004
Matthew A. Russell has been an
archeologist with the National Park Service Submerged Resources
Center since 1993. He serves as Project Director for the USS
Arizona Preservation Project.
Veteran’s Day at the Memorial
Veteran’s Day at the
USS Arizona Memorial is much like any other day for the SRC team
– we spend most of our time underwater, or planning our time underwater
or cleaning up from our time underwater. But we never forget where we’re
working, and it’s a little more poignant on a day like Veteran’s
Day. The harbor is all dressed up – World War II naval vessels
Missouri and Bowfin are flying brightly colored flags and the
Visitor Center has an impressive display of historic flags surrounding
the central fountain. A variety of groups brought wreaths to lay in the
Memorial’s shrine room, and we even had a visit from a USS West
Virginia survivor, whose arrival called for the tour boat to detour
past the Memorial to the West Virginia’s mooring quay, just off
A memorial wreath in the shrine room from
Thursday's Veteran's day observance. Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS.
Our day began early –
Kelly Gleason and I used our freshly calibrated YSI multiparameter
instrument to collect water chemistry data in a vertical transect off
the dock. We lowered the instrument to the bottom and back in one-foot
increments every 30 seconds. Our plan is to repeat this each morning and
evening for three consecutive days to record any potential
variation. This data – pH, temperature, oxygen reduction potential,
salinity, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen – will help use isolate
variables that affect corrosion variation with depth. Dr. Curt Storlazzi
from the US Geological Survey is helping us analyze this information.
Oil collection from one
of Arizona's portholes. Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS.
Later, Jenni Burbank
joined Kelly and me, and we spent two dives sampling oil from various
locations, including our second 24-hour collection with the USIA oil
collection device. So far, oil leaking from hatches aft of the Memorial
is escaping at about the same rate as last year. We also sampled oil
from second deck ceilings through open portholes in the side of the
ship. Apparently, this oil either pooled there shortly after Arizona
sank or is leaking there from ruptured oil tanks. We’re working with Dr.
Pam Morris at the Medical University of South Carolina to study how this
oil degrades and the microorganisms that are helping to degrade it.
The underwater digital camera with HMI lights configured for the photo
mosaic. Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS.
Dave Conlin, Brett
Seymour and Art Ireland spent the morning putting the final touches on
the underwater camera and light mount they’re going to use for the
photomosaic, and it’s a masterpiece. The Hydroflex SeaPar lights are
amazing – in fact, they were a little too amazing until Brett baffled
and dampened and set them to their lowest power setting to keep them
from blowing out the image. Now they look great. The photo work on the
bow is made much more difficult by the shallow water (about 4 feet) and
a wicked halocline (where fresh water run-off into the harbor mixes with
the salt water – also at about 4 feet), which causes the water to
shimmer in and out of focus. Nonetheless, work on the mosaic continues
and it’s beginning to look promising.
A small section of images stitched together on Arizona's bow.
Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS.