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Incredible images offer a first glimpse of the sunken world WAR ii-era aircraft carrier

Close-up on the roof of the Grumman Hellcat fighter planes to see in the USS Independence aircraft elevator hatch (OET/Nautilus Live).

Scientists have released incredible photos of the sunken light aircraft carrier USS Independence, which were taken by underwater robots, exploration of the wreck.

The historic ships that served in the second world War and was used in the atomic tests in Bikini Atoll in the Pacific ocean, was intentionally sunk off California in 1951. The 622-metre-long Independence is in 2,600 feet of water in the Larger Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.


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Bow of the USS Independence (OET/Nautilus Live).

Experts on the research vessel E/V Nautilus are using two Remotely Operated Vehicles (Rovs) to study the ship, which has been described as “amazingly intact” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists. The robots’ first dive began on Monday, and they already have a number of eerie images of the wreck. A Grumman Hellcat fighter planes, for example, can be seen in the elevator used for the transport of aircraft between the carrier hangar bay and the flight deck. An anti-aircraft cannon is also visible, and the bow can be clearly seen in the depths of the ocean.

The dive will be streamed live. James Delgado, NOAA’s head of maritime archaeology, who are aboard the Nautilus, has speculated that the ship may have hit the seabed bow first, based on evidence he saw late Monday.


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Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft guns and surrounded by high glass sponges (OET/Nautilus Live).

A second plane was identified on the ship Tuesday. The robots’ first dive ends the Tuesday and a second dive starts on Thursday.

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The independence, which was acoustically mapped by the NOAA IN 2015 the use of autonomous underwater vehicles, is the deepest shipwreck in the Larger Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Launched in 1942, the Independence saw service in the Pacific during the war and took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. After the end of the war, the Independence was one of the more than 90 ships, which, as a goal of the fleet for the Operation Crossroads, the AMERICAN nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll in 1946. The ship survived the tests, it was damaged by shock waves, heat and radiation and was returned to the united states, where it was moored in San Francisco Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and used for the disinfection studies. The explosion damaged carrier was towed out to sea and sunk on Jan. 26, 1951.


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Light of ROV Hercules relieve the deck of the USS Independence, with a view of the chain of ROV Hercules ROV Argus (OET/Nautilus Live).

As well as conducting the first visual control of the Independence, the Nautilus cruise aims to study the habitat of deep sea corals and sponges within the Marine Sanctuary. Specific sites will be prioritized for future research into the acidification of the ocean.

The researchers on board the Nautilus will be exploring another wreck, a cargo ship Dorothy Wintermote, this weekend. In addition to the mapping of the wreck site, scientists will also record how fish and invertebrates have colonized the structure, in contrast to the life in their natural sea habitat.

The Ocean Exploration Trust operates the 210-meter Nautilus.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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