Guam: A Biogeographic and Maritime Cultural Landscape Exploration of a World War II Amphibious Battlefield
January 27 - February 25, 2023
From January 27-February 25, 2023, a team of researchers will begin their search for submerged shipwrecks, aircraft, amphibious vehicles, artillery and other artifacts related to the 1944 invasion of Guam during World War II (WWII).
This expedition is the first of two that aims to further our understanding of one of the most significant invasions of the WWII Pacific theater as well as how it may have shaped the natural environment in the area today.
During WWII, Guam was a strategic military location for both the United States and Japan. In July 1944, U.S. troops invaded and secured the Japanese-held island. There has never been a comprehensive underwater inventory of the battle-related items that may still exist. Evidence suggests there is a significant amount of what are now viewed as cultural resources on the seafloor near the landing beaches of Asan and Agat. Both areas are now part of War in the Pacific National Historical Park.
This winter, the team will conduct underwater remote sensing and diver-based photogrammetry surveys to map the seafloor and portions of the barrier reef near these landing beaches. They will use these data to identify the location of battle-related cultural resources and characterize the seafloor environment. Technicians will also conduct elevation surveys of the beaches to investigate how war-related impacts to the reef may be affecting coastal vulnerability to natural hazards like storms and sea-level rise.
With the winter expedition data and questions in hand, the project team will return to Guam this summer to conduct detailed exploration of areas and targets of interest using divers and a remotely operated underwater vehicle.
- Exploration Tools: Magnetometer | Sonar | Uncrewed Surface Vessels | Photogrammetry
- Expedition: Exploring the Sunken Heritage of Midway Atoll: Honoring the Legacy of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway
- Ocean Fact: What tools does a marine archaeologist use?
- National Park Service Submerged Resources Center on Vimeo
- Sketchfab Models from the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center
Communication Specialist, NOAA Ocean Exploration
Anne E. Wright
Principal Investigator, Submerged Resources Center, National Park Service
Monique LaFrance Bartley
Co-Principal Investigator, Ocean and Coastal Resources Branch, Water Resources Division, National Park Service
Chief, Natural Resources Office of Communications, National Park Service
Funding for this expedition was provided by NOAA Ocean Exploration via its Ocean Exploration Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Opportunity.