Remarkable video captures the discovery of a vast deposit of Second World War munitions at a depth of 3,000 feet underwater near the coast of Los Angeles

Remarkable video captures the discovery of a vast deposit of Second World War munitions at a depth of 3,000 feet underwater near the coast of Los Angeles

Discovery of Eerie Relics in the Pacific War Dumping Grounds

World War II relics, including depth charges, smoke floats, and munition cases, have been unearthed in a deep-water survey off the coast of Los Angeles.

The dumping ground, located ten miles from LA, served as a disposal site for munitions from the Pacific War.

These artifacts, discarded by returning warships to safeguard ports, were discovered at depths of up to 3,000 feet between LA and Catalina Island.

Unearthing a Hidden Underwater Munitions Site

The University of California’s San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography spearheaded the discovery, deploying high-resolution cameras to document the extensive dumping ground across a 135 square mile survey field.

Among the findings were Hedgehog and Mark 9 depth charges, along with Mark 1 smoke floats.

The expedition leader, Eric Terrill, expressed surprise at the abundance of objects on the seabed, emphasizing the ongoing revelations in the team’s exploration efforts.

Historical Context and Outlawed Disposal Practices

Dumping munitions at sea was prohibited by an international treaty in 1975, yet records indicate that the US military engaged in such practices between 1918 and 1970.

The recent discoveries, believed to be a result of World War II-era disposal practices, have prompted the US Navy to address potential risks to human health and the environment.

Mustard gas, Adamsite, Lewisite, and Tabun are among the compounds thought to have been discarded with no documentation between the 1940s and 1960s.

Environmental Concerns and Unresolved DDT Issues

While efforts are underway to manage the risks associated with the newly discovered munitions, scientists are grappling with the environmental impact of up to half a million barrels of the outlawed pesticide DDT in the same waters.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s findings suggest that the scale of DDT contamination may be far greater than initially identified, with potential consequences for marine life and human health.

DDT’s Dark Legacy and Ongoing Questions

DDT, once celebrated as a pesticide, faced a US ban in 1972 due to adverse environmental effects and its classification as a probable human carcinogen.

The unresolved issue of DDT barrels in the ocean raises questions about the extent of chemical dumping and its potential long-term effects.

Mark Gold of the Natural Resources Defense Council underscores the uncertainty surrounding the true scope of contamination, emphasizing the need for further investigation.

Industrial Dumping and Unintended Consequences

Historical shipping logs reveal Southern California’s use of the ocean as a dumping ground until the enactment of the Ocean Dumping Act in 1972.

The unintended consequences of industrial waste disposal, as evidenced by the recent findings, highlight the challenges posed by historical practices on marine ecosystems.

The discovery of whale skeletons in the same survey provides a contrasting note, shedding light on the complex interactions between human activities and the ocean’s ecosystems.

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