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These Are The Most Astonishing Underwater Discoveries

Image Source: Davdeka / Shutterstock

These are also known as the Yonaguni Submarine Ruins. Located at the southernmost part of the Ryukyu Islands, in Japan, the ruins were discovered in 1986, when a group of tourism officials visited the area to observe sharks. A large population of hammerhead sharks dwell in the area, and it has now become a popular dive site despite of its strong currents, thanks to the mysterious ruins.

The structure looks as if it were terraces, stepped monoliths assembled thousands of years ago for unknown reasons. However, some scientists are not all too ready to abandon the possibility that this could also be a natural formation.

The New Jersey Train Graveyard

Roaming around New Jersey, one is liable to see decommissioned trains that have been totally abandoned, with most of its body covered with plants and grass. However, a train graveyard underwater has been discovered in 1985 by Paul Hepler.

Hepler was mapping the ocean floor when his equipment picked up on the large metal cases that turned out, after a number of dives, to be locomotives. These are rare Planet Class 2-2-2 T models that used to be manufactured during the 1850s. There is no record about this specific train or how it got submerged off the coast of New Jersey.

A Sphinx

A group of divers were scouring the deep seas, off the coast of the Bahamas, back in 2014, to examine a shipwreck. They carefully studied the ins and outs of their subject, and combed its surroundings to find more clues and artifacts, when they discovered something extremely out of place- a limestone sphinx.

Nobody knows how the statue got there, but they have theorized that it must have come from a region called Wadi Rahanu, in Egypt.

The Lost City Of Heraclion

Thonis-Heracleion used to be a port city located at the mouth of the Nile, in Egypt. It has been mentioned by historians as early as the 12th century B.C., and it is said that its significance came about during the last days of the pharaohs.

As all ancient port cities, this was a major point for trade and industry. Before Alexandria superseded Thonis-Heracleion, this was where Egypt’s taxes were mainly collected. Unfortunately, the soil of the city underwent liquefaction, and it eventually sank 30 feet underwater. This site was discovered by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, in 2000.

Lake Michigan Stonehenge

A team led by professor Mark Holley of Northwestern University of Michigan dove deep into Lake Michigan, the largest of all the great lakes in the United States, to explore and study sunken ships, for underwater archaeology. Instead, they were surprised to find concrete structures strikingly similar to the Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

It was 40 feet deep underwater, which is shallow, considering the deepest part of the lake is more than 900 feet deep. They studied the slabs of stones, placed in parallel to an ancient shoreline, and found a mastodon carving on it. This contrasts with their initial belief that the structures could be 9,000 years old, for mastodons had become extinct more than 10,000 years ago.

The USS Oriskany

The USS Oriskany was nicknamed The Mighty O, one of the Essex-class carriers commissioned after the Second World War. It was named after one of the bloodiest battles during the Revolutionary War in 1777, the Battle of Oriskany. The ship has been retired from service in 1976, sold for scrap.

The USS Oriskany has found itself useful to the environment beyond its call of duty. It has been sank at the Gulf of Mexico in 2006 and is used as an artificial reef, the largest vessel to be utilized as such, and its presence makes the area a choice destination for divers.

The SS President Coolidge

The roomy SS President Coolidge, that used to serve as a luxury liner traveling from San Francisco to Manila, and other places in the Pacific and Far East, was repurposed by the US War Department when the threat of war became alarming.

It’s design was effective as a troopship, and it was used to evacuate American citizens in Hong Kong when WWII loomed. Unfortunately, it was sunk by mines as it tried to enter a military base in Espiritu Santo, now part of Vanuatu, that was heavily fortified against enemy ships and submarines. It hit two mines before the captain ordered his men to abandon ship.

The Titanic

The tragedy of the RMS Titanic may have later on inspired Hollywood producers to create films surrounding its failed maiden voyage, but the subject remained a taboo for most of the twentieth century. Its accidental collision with an iceberg in 1912 caused more than 1,500 people dead, and British citizens rather avoided talking about it as if hastening to overcome the grief associated with it.

It took many decades to discover the wreck, and it wasn’t an easy undertaking. Robert Ballard and his team of explorers finally found its phantom 12,000 feet underwater, but only after so many attempts had failed, costing millions of dollars. It still remains at the bottom of the ocean albeit split in two; its bow and stern about a third of a mile apart.

The Sunken City in Qiandao Lake

The sunken city in China’s Qiandao Lake was once a thriving city but was intentionally flooded to create a reservoir. The city, called Shi Cheng, was submerged by the government in the 1950s to build the Xin’an Dam. Today, the city lies about 130 feet below the surface and has become a popular diving site, attracting both archaeologists and tourists

Qiandao lake was a man-made creation originating during the Eastern Han Dynasty in AD 208 and was named after the nearby Wu Shi mountain. In 1959, the Xin’an River Dam resulted in flooding the entire valley and the surrounding mountains creating the Thousand Island Lake, which submerged the ancient city of Shi Cheng at the bottom of the lake.

The Baltic Sea Anomaly was discovered in 2011 when the Ocean X company, on a treasure-hunting mission, stumbled upon an oddly shaped image resembling an alien spaceship on the floor of the northern Baltic Sea. This structure was later confirmed to be made of stone by scientists, who are still unsure of its origin but speculate it may be a result of glacial and volcanic processes.

In 2013, a training session for highway patrolmen turned into an official investigation when a newly acquired sonar device detected two cars submerged side by side in Foss Lake, Custer County, with three bodies in each car. The bodies were declared missing four decades earlier, and their deaths due to drowning raised more questions than answers.

The Dornier Do 17 “fast bomber,” invented during the Second World War, was discovered in 2008 and raised from the Goodwin Sands in 2013. The aircraft was reportedly shot down by enemy fire on August 28, 1940.

The SS Thistlegorm, a British armed Merchant Navy ship, was sunk in 1941 on its way to Alexandria, Egypt, after being targeted by a German bomber plane. The wreckage of the ship has been a subject of interest and is now a recreational dive site where motorcycles, trucks, and rifles meant for the Allied forces can be seen on deck.

A group of German scientists found a vast deposit of metal balls during an expedition in the Atlantic Ocean in 2015. These manganese nodules hold rare metals used in electronic devices and are considered valuable due to their concentration in the Atlantic.

The SS Gairsoppa, a civilian ship repurposed for the Second World War, was sunk by a U-boat in 1941 with 48 tons of silver bullion in its cargo. As of 2013, 48 tons of silver have been recovered, making it the largest precious metal recovery on record.

The Antikythera Mechanism, a remarkable early Greek invention dating back to about 87 BC, was found inside a box at a wreck off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera in 1902. It has a gear inside and is considered an analog computer capable of predicting eclipses and astronomical positions for decades in advance.

The Apollo 11, a significant partAmerican history is marked by the remarkable achievement of landing the first two astronauts on the moon, which was a result of the space race between the US and the Soviet Union. The F-1 engines, which propelled the ship past the S-1C stage, were lost in the Atlantic Ocean after the successful mission.

The recovery of the rockets involved a three-week expedition using sonar technology funded by Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos. The expedition successfully retrieved various parts of two out of the five rockets used.

The Sweepstakes wreck in Big Tub Harbour is a popular site for snorkelers in Fathom Five National Marine Park. The schooner, built in 1867, sank in 1885 off Cove Island while delivering coal.

The flagship of the legendary pirate Blackbeard, known as Queen Anne’s Revenge, was discovered in 1996 close to Fort Macon State Park in North Carolina. The expedition recovered more than 31 cannons and over 200,000 artifacts.

An ancient Phoenician shipwreck was found off the island of Gozo in Malta, believed to have sunk in 700 BC, resting approximately 400 feet underwater.

The Silfra Crack is a popular diving spot located in Iceland, offering a unique experience of swimming between the continental plates of North America and Europe.

The lost city of Pavlopetri, reckoned to be 5,000 years old, was discovered off the coast of Laconia in Greece and dates back to the Mycenaean Period.

The Ice Finger of Death, a natural phenomenon known as “brinicles,” occurs when seawater freezes in polar oceans and expels concentrated sea brine downward.

Vestiges from the first naval battle in history, the Battle of the Egadi Islands, were recovered off the coast of Sicily in 2013, resulting in a swift victory for the Romans in the First Punic War.

The underwater statues created by Jason DeCaires Taylor in Cancun are considered among the 25 wonders of the world, combining art, marine conservation, and diving expertise.

Truk Lagoon, a part of the Chuuk state in the Federated States of Micronesia, hosts up to 60 ships that were sunk there in WWII. Tragically many crew members lost their lives still inside the wrecks, although some 3,000 crew members were reported to have survived the attacks. Today, the lagoon is famous for submarine excursions, especially to the Rio de Janeiro Maru, the Fujikawa Maru, and the Shinkoku Maru with its torpedoes and mine carts, along with others.

A clipper ship called the Irongate, which was a hospital ship, was part of the fleet. It was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records, in 1956, for it becoming the largest passenger ship at that time and was now listed along the wrecks. Irongate was involved in over 200 voyages and surely was an impressive addition to the war. The vessel would be converted into a floating hotel before lengthy legal debates on its ownership would take place. Arguments between Chuuk and Pohnpei states ensued, with both of them making claims over the lagoon’s seabed.

The Red Sea Wrecks

There are iconic wrecks waiting to be explored in this dive site, drawing divers from around the world. SS Thistlegorm is top of the list, a British vessel that went down during the war and was discovered by Jacques Cousteau himself in the 1950s.

Many artifacts are still seen encased within her vehicle holds, and it’s likely how we know that she was loaded with trucks, motorcycles, and weaponry. Its sinking caused the deaths of about 9 men on board. It is still a great diving experience for adventure enthusiasts from many parts of the world like Germany, England, and the US. Often what they encounter as they dive in the site, are tourist divers coming back over and over, captivated by the site.

The Restauracion’s Spanish Galleon

Juan Pacheco was an owner of the Restauracion’s Spanish Galleon, and as a sailor himself, was deemed responsible for it. However, the captain in charge of it, overtook it at the time, favoring to carry out a mission of escaping to the Bermudas with its treasures instead of docking in Veracruz.

Once it reached the Florida Keys an extensive effort was given to search for more than ten years by treasure hunters and salvagers. From 1919 up to 1933, in the least, it was said that the search for it was done. Attempts to recover the ship would result in a piece that was found “littered” with metal shards as it had disintegrated in its place.

Image Source: Davdeka / Shutterstock

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