divers guide sub-bottom profiler

NOAA divers guide the sub-bottom profiler around the Monitor's turret. The profiler allowed researchers to view objects buried in the sediment. Click image for larger view.

Watching the computer

Researchers view images supplied by the profiler. Several buried objects were observed. Click image for larger view.

USS Monitor Engine Recovered

August 12, 2001

Tane Casserley and Jeff Johnston
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

Dr. David Mindell and graduate student Bryan Bingham from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology joined the NOAA team for a few days to conduct a high-frequency, sub-bottom profiler (SBP) survey of the gun turret. This survey allowed the researchers to view objects buried under the sediment inside and around the outside of the base of the turret. The instrument was designed by Mindell and previously used on such projects as the Skerki Banks Survey off of Israel with Dr. Robert Ballard, and the C.S.S. Hunley in Charleston, South Carolina.

Underwater, NOAA divers controlled the instrument, which was tethered to the surface by cable to the research vessel Cape Fear. On board, the images were viewed via computer. Preliminary data shows several objects buried under the sediment, although further analysis is required before any interpretation can be made of the images. Mindell and Bingham were very pleased with the results. This marks the first time a diver-assisted sub-bottom profiler survey has been successfully conducted at any depth, let alone at 240 ft. under the ocean.

The Navy's previous test excavation of the turret exposed the hand wheel to the gun carriage, and a portion of the carriage itself. NOAA divers mapped the location of the wheel and reburied the area to protect it until next year’s expedition. This data will be used to assist the sanctuary in planning for the controlled turret excavation in 2002.

Once the SBP was completed, it was back to prearranged tasks. Divers continued to clear up the area where the Monitor’s vibrating side lever steam engine used to be. A number of additional artifacts have been located, mapped in, and recovered. Additionally, new reference points have been established within the wreck to assist with various forms of site documentation and mapping.

The NOAA Team
Captain Dan Aspenlighter - UNCW
Gary Byrd - ECU
Chuck Cambell - ECU
Tane Casserley - Monitor NMS
Doug Costa - olunteer
Tami Ebert - Volunteer
James Funderburk - Volunteer
Joe Hoyt - ECU
Ken Johns - UNCW
Jeff Johnston - Monitor NMS
Doug Kesling - NURC
Mark Keusenkothen - ECU
Keith Maverden -ECU
Rob Murray - Volunteer
Steve Neuger - Volunteer
Mike Rodaway - UNCW
Steve Sellers - ECU
Jay Stryon - NURC



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