National Marine Sanctuaries - Exploration

USS Alligator
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This image illustrates the complex bathymetry in the region of the Alligator's loss. The USS Sumpter and Alligator's last known fix at noon on April 3 is approximately 50.5 nautical miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras and is approximately 36 nautical miles south-southeast of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. The continental shelf break marks the abrupt transition from the continental shelf and the continental slope. On this image, the shelf break can be interpreted by determining the depth at which the contour lines begin to bunch up (indicating a transition to the steeper continental slope). Click image for larger version and more information. [Image courtesy of NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center]


This image illustrates the complex physical oceanography in the region of the Alligator's loss. The USS Sumpter and Alligator's last known fix at noon on April 3 is approximately 50.5 nautical miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras and is approximately 36 nautical miles south-southeast of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. This false-color image depicts average sea surface temperatures based on climatology for early April. The Gulf Stream travels up the coast of the United States and separates the warmer waters of the Sargasso Sea in the south from the colder waters of the continental shelf and slope. Click image for a larger version and more information. [Image courtesy of NOAA's National Oceanographic Data Center]




This nautical chart depicts three regions. The USS Sumpter's last known fix at noon on April 3 is approximately 50.5 nautical miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras and is approximately 36 nautical miles south-southeast of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. The diameter of the green circle which is centered on the Sumpter's noon fix position is approximately 100 nautical miles. It represents the distance that the Sumpter could have traveled in six hours on a good day at 8.5 knots. The trapezoidal region encompasses a 636 square nautical mile area. It represents our first guess of where the Alligator may be. The report by NOAA marine archeologists Bruce Terrell and Jeremy Weirich that led to the determination of this area is on our webpage at http://www.sanctuaries.noaa.gov/alligator/reports.html

Finally, the third rectangular red area represents the area that we searched this past summer. The 2-day search using multibeam sonar was conducted by NOAA R/V Thomas Jefferson (formerly Littlehales). Click image for larger view.
[Image courtesy of NOAA's Office of Exploration]

National Marine Sanctuaries - Exploration

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The United States Navy's Office of Naval Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have initiated a cooperative project to unlock the secrets of the U.S.S. Alligator.