Mar 03 2016

Unusual Underwater Discoveries


12 – USS Oriskany –

Known as “the largest vessel ever sunk to make a reef” – the USS Oriskany was originally destined to be a long-hulled Essex-class ship, but her construction was suspended in 1946. The ship was eventually redesigned and commissioned in 1950 with a modernized design. She was used primarily in the Korean War – earning 2 battle stars – and in the Vietnam War – earning 5 battle stars. She was sold for scrap in 1995 – but was later repossessed due to lack of progress. In 2004 the decision was made to sink the ship as an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico. She was carefully laid to rest in 2006, landing in an upright position at the bottom of the sea. She’s accessible to recreational divers and is often visited for exploration.

11 –Lake Michigan Stonehenge –

In 2007 a professor of underwater archaeology at Northwestern Michigan University discovered something pretty remarkable in Lake Michigan. He was just minding his own business, using sonar to examine old boat wrecks and then BOOM – he stumbles upon a structure that looks an awful lot like Stonehenge! And here’s the truly unbelievable part – on one of the outer circles appears to be the carving of a mastodon – an animal that’s been extinct for 10,000 years. The carving is up for debate, since most of the experts in that area aren’t divers – but it’s wild to think that this structure has been there for that long and who could have made that carving. 

10 – Ancient Mediterranean Shipwreck –

In 2014, divers off the coast of Malta discovered what may be the oldest shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea. Researchers think the vessel was headed to Malta from Sicily when it sank. The wreck is thought to be around 2,700 years old and has held some of the oldest artifacts ever recovered. More than 50 containers used to hold wine were found and 20 lava grinding stones, weighing 77 pound each were also recovered. Researchers have brought several pieces of the wreck to the surface and plan to investigate the site further.

9 – Blackbeard’s Cannons –

Reading about our next underwater discovery will have you feeling like you’re in the middle of a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The story goes that Edward Teach – Blackbeard to his enemies – sunk the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge off the coast of North Carolina. What scientist have found really is remarkable – 5 cannons, weighing 2,000 and 3,000 pounds. These cannons once shot 6 pound cannonballs, but no word if the cannons were still loaded. These treasures will be added to the Queen Anne’s Exhibit in Beaufort North Carolina, which has more than 280,000 artifacts.

8 –Antikythera Mechanism –

This may be one of the coolest finds on our list. The Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient analog computer that may date back between 150 and 100 BC. It was discovered from the Antikythera shipwreck of the coast of the Greek Island – you guessed it, Antikythera. This artifact was designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes. It was also supposed to predict the Olympiads, the cycles of the ancient Olympic Games. The technology used to build the device is thought to have been lost in Antiquity, complex artifacts like this one didn’t appear again until well into the fourteenth century. Right now the Antikythera Mechanism calls the National Archaeological Museum of Athens home.

7 –The Underwater River –

This underwater discovery is definitely the most bizarre on our list. Found in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the Underwater River is a phenomenon made possible by a thick layer of hydrogen sulfide that separates the 100 feet of freshwater at the top from the 100 feet of saltwater on the bottom. It’s crazy how much it looks like a real river flowing at the bottom of the Gulf. Skilled divers are able to access the river and fallen branches, trees, mud and leaves make this look like the real thing. It is simply amazing.

6 –Train Graveyard –

There’s much more to New Jersey than housewives and the Jersey Shore – 90 feet under the water off the coast of Long Branch, NJ lay two rare locomotives believed to be from the 1850’s. The mystery still remains how they got there and where they came from. There is no known record of them ever being built or of ever being lost. Archaeologists believe they were lost in a storm five miles off the coast as they were being transported from Boston to the Mid Atlantic. The pictures of the trains buried in the sea are eerie and because they’re so rare, whether or not they’ll be pulled up to be restored is still a possibility.

5 –Yonaguni Monument –

The Yonaguni Monument, also known as the Yonaguni Submarine Ruins, is a rock formation found off the coast of Yonaguni of the Ryukyu Islands in Japan. There is much debate about whether or not the rocks are man-made or completely natural. Some experts believe that the structures could be all that’s left of Mu, a fabled Pacific civilization rumored to have vanished beneath the waves. The formation is unquestionably close in design to that of a pyramid – which makes this discovery all the more interesting. The government in Japan have made no plans to further investigate its origin. Tourists and researchers can freely dive at the site.

4 –The Lost City of Heracleion –

Talk about a spooky find, the Lost City of Heracleion may give you chills. French archaeologist Franck Goddio was simply searching for 18th century French warships when he stumbled upon a colossal, stony face staring back at him from the depths of the sea. What he had actually stumbled upon was the city of Thonis-Heracleion, completely submerged off of Alexandria’s coastline. Included in his findings were 64 ships, 700 anchors, a plethora of gold coins, and most remarkably statues that were as tall as 16 feet. The pictures of this site are truly breathtaking.

3 –Sculpture Park –

500 life-like sculptures are laid to rest at the bottom of the Caribbean waters of Cancun Mexico. Created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor and 5 other Mexican sculptors, the plans for the Cancun Underwater Museum, where these sculptures reside, were first created in 2008 and would be formed by nature into coral reef. The statues are meant to depict humans interacting with the environment around them. They show two sides – one where the humans live alongside nature, and one where the humans are destroying nature. The sculpture museum has a very meaningful impact and send a very powerful message.

2 – The Ghost Fleet –

So picture this – you’re diving and out of nowhere you swim across a spooky underwater cemetery. That’s pretty much what happened when Jacques Cousteau explored Truuk Lagoon, located within the Federated States of Micronesia – about 1800 kilometers north-east of New Guinea . He and his team later made a documentary about the lagoon where they discovered numerous in-tact wrecked ships, with human remains still inside. There is now a museum erected next to the lagoon. Now the coral encrusted wrecks is home to a wide array of marine life and 266 species of reef fish. Many celebrities have had the chance to dive to the site, including James Cameron, Bill Paxton and “The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin.” The ships are now classified as Japanese war graves and the Japanese government are required to eventually clean it up.
1 – The Titanic –

It’s no surprise that the Titanic would top this list at number one. One of the most famous and one of the most haunting ships to ever be discovered under water, this unsinkable ship has many stories to tell. After leaving for its maiden voyage from Southampton, UK and heading for New York City, a ride on The White Star line’s biggest ship was the hot ticket at the time. After being built, designers and crew were so convinced the massive ship just couldn’t sink that they only made room for a total of 20 lifeboats – definitely not a sufficient amount to accommodate the over 2,000 people on board. When the Titanic hit an iceberg on April 14, 1912 and ultimately began sinking, only 710 people were saved – leaving over 1500 to perish in the icy water. The wreck was discovered underwater on September 1, 1985 after many had attempted to locate it and failed. It was found by a team led by Robert Ballard. The ship was found to have split apart, probably near the surface of the ocean. The photos retrieved of the wreck are stunningly eerie, and show what a magnificent sight it must have been to watch as the ship took off from her dock for the very first time.