Wimble Shoals: An Exploration and Characterization of Submerged Cultural and Sediment Resources

Background Information

The essays below will help you to understand the goals and objectives of the mission and provide additional context and information about the places being explored and the science, tools, and technologies being used.

  • Mission Overview

    During the expedition, the team will be working from Duke University’s Research Vessel Shearwater.

    From July 22-August 8, 2020, a team of researchers led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in partnership with the National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science explored Wimble Shoals, located adjacent to Rodanthe, North Carolina, on Duke University’s Research Vessel Shearwater.

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  • Wimble Shoals Shipwrecks

    Governor Ames.

    As a hazard adjacent to a major shipping route, it is likely that hundreds of catastrophic maritime events have occurred within the vicinity of Wimble Shoals over the past 400 years. Within the survey area, around 24 well-documented shipwrecking events have been identified to have occurred within or near the area. The identified vessels wrecked predominantly during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

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  • Process for Cultural Resource Characterization

    Dr. Nathan Richards, director of East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies, processing data collected using the side scan sonar.

    When looking for submerged landscapes below the seafloor, the main geophysical tool we use is a sub-bottom profiler. It can also show where there is a major change in angle and character of deposits, such as the cut of an ancient river channel, which has been filled by mud and sands.

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