Tag Archives: Coastal Issues

Capt. Kidd Shipwreck Site to Be Dedicated Living Museum of the Sea

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A diver examines the biology on ‘cannon 13’, resting in less than 10 feet of water just 70 feet from shore. Photo source: Indiana University

Excerpt from Indiana University,

Nearly three years after the discovery of the shipwreck Quedagh Merchant, abandoned by the scandalous 17th century pirate Captain William Kidd, the underwater site will be dedicated as a “Living Museum of the Sea” by Indiana University, IU researcher and archeologist Charles Beeker, and the government of the Dominican Republic.

The dedication as an official underwater museum will take place off the shore of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic on May 23, the 310th anniversary of Kidd’s hanging in London for his crimes of piracy. The dedication will note both underwater and above-ground interpretive plaques. The underwater plaques will help guide divers around the Kidd site as well as relics and rare corals at two other shipwreck sites.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded IU $200,000 to turn the Captain Kidd shipwreck site and two nearby existing underwater preserves into no-take, no-anchor “Living Museums of the Sea,” where cultural discoveries will protect precious corals and other threatened biodiversity in the surrounding reef systems, under the supervision and support of the Dominican Republic’s Oficina Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático (ONPCS).

The Underwater Science team from the IU School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER), led by Beeker, has been working to preserve, analyze and document the Kidd shipwreck since its surprising discovery, which made headlines around the world.

This unique museum, resting in less than 10 feet of water just 70 feet from shore, will give divers the opportunity to see the 17th century ship remains, including several anchors, along with dozens of cannons, which rest on the ocean’s floor and serve as home to coral and sea creatures.

As the interest in eco-tourism and unique vacation destinations continues to grow, this Living Museum of the Sea is predicted to be a sought-after destination for those seeking underwater adventures combined with significant 17th century maritime history representative of the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean.

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Historic Marker buoy and snorkel divers above the 1699 Captain Kidd shipwreck. Photo source: Indiana University

Beeker said it was remarkable that the wreck had remained undiscovered all these years given its location, just 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic, and because it has been actively sought by treasure hunters.

“Since the site’s discovery, we have worked with government officials, Indiana University partners and museums to preserve this site, the artifacts contained there and to use it all for research and scientific study,” said Beeker, a pioneer in underwater museums and preserves. “We have diligently protected this site, and now we are able to share the importance of the Armenian-owned 1699 Quedagh Merchant (which was captured by Kidd off the west coast of India) with students at Indiana University as well as with the public at exhibits at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the British Museum of Docklands London.”

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis helped bring one of the most fascinating underwater mysteries in years to visitors in its new permanent exhibit, National Geographic Treasures of the Earth. Charles Beeker was authorized by Dominican Republic authorities to bring the only cannon recovered from the shipwreck to The Children’s Museum for five years of study and conservation.

“Our intent was to develop the most authentic experience possible, to bring real archaeological sites, real science, real artifacts and real experts to our visitors. These extraordinary experiences truly have the power to inspire and transform the lives of children through family learning,” he said.

Other significant artifacts to be displayed at The Children’s Museum include Ming dynasty plates and statues, diamond and gold jewelry, gold & silver coins, cannonballs and other antiquities, which have been preserved for centuries in the Caribbean waters.

Historians differ on whether Kidd was actually a pirate or a privateer, someone who captured pirates. After his conviction of piracy and murder charges in a sensational London trial, he was left to hang over the River Thames for two years as a warning to other pirates.

Historians write that Kidd captured the Quedagh Merchant, loaded with valuable satins and silks, gold, silver and other East Indian merchandise, but left the ship in the Caribbean as he sailed to New York on a less conspicuous sloop to clear his name of the criminal charges.

Anthropologist Geoffrey Conrad, director of IU Bloomington’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures, said the men Kidd entrusted with his ship reportedly looted it, and then set it ablaze and adrift down the Rio Dulce. Conrad said the location of the wreckage and the formation and size of the canons, which had been used as ballast, are consistent with historical records of the ship. They also found pieces of several anchors under the cannons.

“All the evidence that we find underwater is consistent with what we know from historical documentation, which is extensive,” Conrad said. “Through rigorous archeological investigations, we have conclusively proven that this is the Captain Kidd shipwreck.”

The IU research in the Dominican Republic typically involves professors and graduate students from various IU Bloomington schools and departments, including the School of HPER, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and the departments of anthropology, biology, geological sciences and mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Since the discovery, Beeker has met with and given presentations to research experts in London, Armenia and Washington, D.C., and the interest continues to spread because of the complex trading and exploration channels that existed in the 17th century.

For more than 20 years, Beeker and his students have conducted underwater research projects on submerged ships, cargo and other cultural and biological resources throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Many of his research projects have resulted in the establishment of state or federal underwater parks and preserves, and have led to a number of site nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.

Beeker, who has been conducting research in the Dominican Republic for nearly 20 years, was asked to examine the shipwreck in 2007 while on another research mission involving the search for Christopher Columbus’ lost ships. Beeker and Conrad have been exploring the era when the New and Old Worlds first met, focusing on the area of La Isabela Bay, the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement established by Columbus in 1494.

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Captain William Kidd was a Scottish sailor who originally made his living hunting pirate and enemy French ships. But after attacking an Armenian ship with an English captain in 1698, he was arrested, and brought back to England.Captain William Kidd was either one of the most notorious pirates in history, or arguably, one of its most unjustly vilified and prosecuted privateers in an age. (Wikipedia)

Original Article

A Spanish Island’s Quest to Be the Greenest Place on Earth

el-hierro-coast
El Hierro coast. El Hierro is located over 750 miles (1,200 km) from the Spanish mainland, and its stark, volcanic landscape harbors no coal or fossil fuels. Photo source: ©© Victor R Ruiz

Excerpts;

At the moment, the project that will transform the future of El Hierro doesn’t look like much more than a hole in the ground. Or two, to be exact: one on top of a mountain, another smaller one down below, and in between, a long stretch of pipeline tinted the same color as the scrub that grows so abundantly on this volcanic island.

Read Full Article, Time

Turkey to build huge waterway to bypass Bosphorus

bosphorus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus, also known as the Istanbul Strait, is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation, and it connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea). Caption: Wikipedia and Photo source: ©© John Walker

Excerpts;

Turkey plans to build a canal connecting the Black and Marmara seas as an alternative to the congested Bosphorus Strait, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said…

Read Full Article, AFP

Islands off the Croatian Coast

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Croatia’s most famous beach, Zlatni Rat , the Golden Horn, is known as a windsurfer’s paradise. More than 1,000 islands line the Croatian and Dalmatian coast.

By Michon Scott, NASA Earth Observatory

Along the coast of Croatia lies a multitude of islands of varying shapes and sizes.

Archaeological finds indicate that some of the islands have been inhabited since the Stone Age and have supported trade routes since the sixth century BC.

Increasingly popular as tourist destinations now, the islands rest atop a collision zone of tectonic plates. The tectonic activity contributes to the continuing growth of the islands.

One of the larger Dalmatian Islands is Pag. Running mostly northwest to southeast, the island has an uneven coastline and sharply contrasting land surfaces. Rocky ground covers most of Pag, but macchia, Mediterranean shrubland, dominates in some areas. The island receives enough moisture to grow fruits and vegetables, and local residents produce wine and olive oil.

West of Pag are the small, low-lying islands of Silba and Olib. Both have less complicated coastlines and fairly even carpets of vegetation.

In the northwest, the island of Losinj (part of the Cres-Losinj archipelago) enjoys a mild climate and evergreen vegetation. Although the island’s coast is steep and rocky in the west, the coastline is flatter in the east.

dalmatian islands
The Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) on NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite captured this natural-color image. This picture shows some of the Croatian Islands in the Adriatic Sea.

Geologists long thought the islands off Croatia’s coast had stopped growing between 20 and 30 million years ago, but a 2008 study identified an active fault under the Adriatic Sea.

Running along the Croatian coastline, the fault occurs where the South Adria Microplate (a former piece of the Africa Plate) is subducting below the Eurasia Plate. As a result of the plate collision, the Italian Peninsula is creeping toward the Croatian coast at roughly 4 millimeters (0.16 inches) per year, and the Dalmatian Islands and Dinaride Mountains are slowly rising.

dalmatian coast
The sinewy coastline stretches for miles and miles.

Original Article

Japan Quake Caused Surprisingly Severe Soil Collapse

mark edward harris japan tsunami
Post tsunami devastation, Japan 2011. Photograph courtesy © by Mark Edward Harris.
In geology, liquefaction refers to the process by which saturated, unconsolidated sediments, primarily sands and silts, temporarily lose strength and behave as a viscous liquid rather than as a solid. Ground failure caused by liquefaction is a major cause of earthquake damage and casualties.

Excerpts;

The scale of Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami wasn’t the only thing that surprised geologists.

The 9.0 earthquake in Japan, the fourth most powerful quake ever recorded, also caused an unusually severe and widespread shift in soil through liquefaction, a new study suggests.

Near coastlines, harbors and rivers, earthquakes can make the wet, sandy soil jiggle, turning it temporarily from a solid to a liquid state, a process known as liquefaction. Heavy sand and rock sinks, while water and lighter sand bubble to the surface. The slurry spreads, often toward the water, and the surface shifts.

Japan’s liquefaction occurred over hundreds of miles, surprising even experienced engineers who are accustomed to seeing disaster sites, including from the recent earthquakes in Chile and New Zealand…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Soil Liquefaction, Wikipedia

Asia Nuclear Reactors Face Tsunami Risk

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Guangdong nuclear power plant. (Guangdong, China). Captions and Photo source: ©© IAEA Imagebank

Excerpts;

The skeleton of what will soon be one of the world’s biggest nuclear plants is slowly taking shape along China’s southeastern coast, right on the doorstep of Hong Kong’s bustling metropolis. Three other facilities nearby are up and running or under construction.

Like Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant they lie within a few hundred miles of the type of fault known to unleash the largest tsunami-spawning earthquakes…

Read Full Article, AP

Why We Build Nuclear Power Station In Earthquake Zones

Turkish Nuclear Plans on Mediterranean Coast Causes Concerns

Third Nuclear Plant Discharge Destroys Reefs