UH completes underwater munitions research

(Video still courtesy HUMMA Project)

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Ocean Earth Science and Technology completed on Wednesday field work for the final phase of an Army-funded research effort to further investigate sea-disposed military munitions.

This research took place south of Pearl Harbor at an area designated by the U.S. Department of Defense as a deep-water site containing both conventional and chemical military munitions.

Using a remotely operated vehicle, UH was able to collect samples closer to munitions at which deterioration had exposed material (mustard or its breakdown products) from within the munitions and, for the first time, to collect samples from within two deteriorated munitions. Those samples will help determine whether munitions that were dumped after WWII are posing any threat to humans and the environment.

The munitions, which include .50 caliber rounds, bombs, mortars and torpedoes, are located roughly 600 meters, or 1,800 feet, deep.

The team was also able to deploy two cameras, one designed and built by Iolani High School students, to collect photographs of both the interaction of marine life with sea-disposed munitions, and of marine life in the vicinity of the site.

For further information about the project, see www.hummaproject.com.

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