Northeastern Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (1214 March 2007)
Paper No. 19-4
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-4:45 PM

GEOPHYSICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE WRECK OF THE USS NIAGARA, BOSTON HARBOR, MA

MAIO, Christopher V., Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Massachusetts-Boston, 63 Beachway Road, East Sandwich, MA 02537, cmaioak@hotmail.com, GONTZ, Allen M., Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Massachusetts - Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125, MASTONE, Victor T., Board of Underwater Archeological Resources, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, 251 Causeway St, Suite 800, Boston, 02114, and SMITH, Joseph P., Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences (EEOS) Department, University of Massachusetts, Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125

The USS Niagara was a steam screw frigate built in 1855 for the US Navy. Measuring 328 ft long with a beam of 66 ft and a displacement of 5,540 tons, she was the largest warship in the Navy when launched. Soon after commissioning, the vessel served as the US half of the team that laid the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1857-58. She saw action in the Civil War as blockade enforcement. She was decommissioned and sold as in 1885. She was stripped of her superstructure and a portion of her machinery and then burned and scuttled in Boston Harbor.

During December 2006, a team from UMass-Boston and the State of Massachusetts began a project to determine the exact location of the vessel, its condition and how the natural processes are affecting the site. We collected high-resolution sidescan sonar imagery, mid and high resolution boomer and CHIRP seismic reflection profiles, and high-resolution magnetometer readings over an area of 10 km2. Historical accounts provided an estimated position of the vessel. Additional surveys and direct observations either by diver or remotely-operated vehicle may be required during spring or summer of 2007.

Results from this survey, coupled with historical literature and direct observations (if required) will be used to propose the site for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and designate the area as an Underwater Archaeological Preserve. This is the first in a series of marine archaeological sites where such a survey is planned.

Northeastern Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (1214 March 2007)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 19--Booth# 4
Geophysics (Posters)
University of New Hampshire: Holloway Commons, Rotunda
1:00 PM-4:45 PM, Monday, 12 March 2007

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 39, No. 1, p. 58

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