Scientists suggest using satellites to discover shipwrecks

Scientists suggest using satellites to discover shipwrecks


US: A new study published in the February Journal of Archaeological Science suggests that satellite colour photos of the oceans could help find submerged wrecks in shallow cloudy waters. As for current techniques use waterborne sonar and airborne LiDAR systems to detect submerged wrecks. But since neither of these methods works well in cloudy weather or shallow waters, a team of researchers now have suggested that satellites could help spot submerged wrecks that might otherwise go undiscovered.

The study was conducted by marine geologist, Matthias Baeye at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and his colleagues. Baeye and his colleagues examined satellite color photos taken by Landsat 8, which NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey launched in 2013. The researchers analyzed four known wreck sites near the Port of Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast, all civilian vessels. Two of the wrecks sank after hitting mines during World War II, one sank shortly before the war after colliding with another vessel and one sank in 1965, likely after striking one of the World War II–era wrecks.

"It is a clever and elegant solution for using satellites to find shipwrecks," says Peter Campbell, archaeological director of the Albanian Center for Marine Research who was not involved in this work. More than three million shipwrecks may be scattered across the oceans, UNESCO estimates. According to James Delgado, director of maritime heritage at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, of all the wrecks in the world, maybe less than 10 percent have been found. Any technology that enables us to pinpoint wrecks is a step in the right direction.

Source: Scientific American