Monday, January 22, 2007

Submariners Are Not Superstitious: Submarine pyroclastic eruptions

Juan Caruso wrote of submariners in his poem Extreme Creatures, “... (they) Who suffer no attrition upon news their kind are sunk”.

Ask those assigned to subs named after earlier, sunken ones. Ask those who have transited the Bermuda Triangle submerged, or those who have slept under tons of thick ice and crushing water. Ask those who heard their ship creak under deep dives, and watch deck plates buckle. Ask those who fought real fires, leaks and vital system failures in near total darkness. You either remember these or get the picture. The Bermuda Triangle is roughly the area covering the Florida Straits, the Bahamas, and the entire Caribbean east to the Azores. Shown: Lava at Azores lighthouse. Pyroclastic surges produced by magma-water interaction during nearby submarine eruption nearly buried the lower floor of the lighthouse building. (Photo by R. V. Fisher, 1979 - University of California Santa Barbara).

The first underwater eruption was not documented until 1990, even though many probably occur each year, and seismometers on land still cannot detect the many small, distant earthquakes that scientists believe precede a submarine eruption for many months. - ScienceDaily LLC Nov. 2006.

Submarine pyroclastic eruptions at depths greater than a few hundred meters were generally considered rare or nonexistent due to the pressure of the overlying water. Detailed models of magma eruption at various sea floor depths now shows significant pyroclastic activity can occur even at depths in excess of 9,842 Ft. (3000 meters). source: Pyroclastic flows Deep submarine pyroclastic eruptions: theory and predicted landforms and deposits HEAD James W. ; WILSON Lionel

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Contrary Submariner Superstition Comment:
Lieutenant Igor Vasilenko, an officer from the Irkutsk submarine, committed suicide when the Irkutsk arrived in the Zvezda plant on November 26. He shot himself in his cabin on board the submarine. Superstitious seamen said that the Kursk's damnation haunts every submarine of the Antei class. THE KURSK'S DAMNATION - Yury Golotyuk, Vremya Novostei, November 30, 2001.

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