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Exploring the Gulf of Mexico with Dr. Sheli: Day Two, the shipwreck Halo


The crew prepped the sub for the first dive.

The goals of the dive were to 1) Reconnaissance of the hull and break point; 2) Collect soil cores; 3) Set corrosion platforms; 4) Collect the bio platform from 2004; and 5) Sonar imaging of the breakpoint and stern.

 To get us started both the clump wt and the ROV are being deployed over the side of the vessel. First the ROV goes in and then the Clump is deployed. Once they are in the water the command van takes over and the pilot flies the ROV.

What we found.

The Halo is in relatively shallow water at almost 500 ft. The visibility is very poor and the abundance of fish make this a location that fishermen really like. Thus the site is covered in hooked nets and fishing line. We were still able to take sonar, deploy the corrosion platforms, take cores, do recon of the port side of the vessel. We were not able to recover the 2004 bio platform nor were we able to take sonar on the stern. Nonetheless we got some very good data, before we brought the team home.


Because we had down time today we were able to process data collected on the first dive. Here is the sonar imagery we collected on the Halo superimposed on the multi-beam image. The coolest thing is the sonar reflected off interior bulkheads and debris. At first I thought we were seeing the other side of the ship but when plotted it turned out to be an interior bulkhead. The scanned area represents about 20m but the really dense scan represents about 10m.

Project PI and Archaeologist, Rob Church of C&C Technology adds, “Prior to the cruise C&C collected high-resolution EM2040 multibeam and 3D scanning laser data of the shipwrecks with our Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).  The “point cloud” data we collected allowed us to create 3D rendering of each shipwreck.  We plan to collect BlueView 3D sonar data at each site during the ROV cruise and then merge the data sets together with the AUV data.  The AUV multibeam data of Halo showed a large breach in the tanker’s hull just forward of the engine room.  We selected that location to collect the BlueView 3D sonar data to understand better how the ship broke apart.  When the BlueView 3D was merged with the EM2040 data, it was nice to see the data matched up perfectly.  Considerable turbidity in the water causes low visibility at the Halo site of approximately 2 meters allowing us to see only small portions of the wreck at a time.  Having the 3D data now allows us to see a much more complete picture of the wreck than we ever could before including glimpses of the interior of the wreck.  This data will now enables us to measure and document shipwrecks more accurately.”

And finally, how about we think about Oil Rigs?

As we came in today we passed a number of oil rigs thought it might be interesting to explore the world of oil rigs. So my question is when did they stop manning all rigs?

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