Saturday, May 10, 2014

Leaking Oil from the USS Arizona

When the USS Arizona was sunk in Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the ship had 500,000 gallons of thick, bunker C fuel oil that was trapped in its tanks. As you visit the USS Arizona Memorial out in the harbor, you can still see the trapped oil bubbling its way to the surface. It is a very visually remembrance of the catastrophe of that day more than 70 years ago when the Japanese fleet executed a planned air attack on the ships in the harbor. During the attack, a 1,700 pound Japanese bomb detonated the ammunition stored on the ship and ignited the 4,000 tons of fuel stored on the ship. Much of that oil did not burn and continues to work its way upward as the hull and compartments of the ship deteriorate. This is an image of the oil slick on the ocean water above the sunken ship.

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