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Horned Scullies, Bombs & Treasure

Feb 20, 2014

Airborne Helocopter Mag Magnetometer Coastline Survey Shoreline

What is that?  What are they looking for?  Are they looking for bombs?  During the month of December a jet helicopter towing a 30-foot wide glider was watched by thousands of Florida’s Treasure Coast beach-goers.

The Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Pierce knew what our helicopter was doing as did several historic shipwreck enterprises.  Aqua Survey was using a new technology called a Potassium-Vapor Magnet Gradiometer to survey about 70 square miles of coastline and near-coastal waters for Horned Scullies, unexploded ordnance (bombs) and shipwrecks.

With our glider flying as low as 15 feet off the water, we surveyed approximately 70 square miles of ocean in only 20 days.  That’s not too difficult when you can survey at 50-60 miles per hour.

When compared to data Aqua Survey or other firms had collected using vessel-towed Cesium Magnetometers, the glider proved to be as effective as, or better than, waterborne systems when it came to pinpointing ferrous targets.

What would have taken years to complete on the water was accomplished in a fraction of the time with our new airborne survey solution. 

Watch the video here.

For a White Paper assessing Airborne Potassium-Vapor Magnetometer Glider use, please contact Ken Hayes at .

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A Floating Market, a King and a Father of Science and Technology

Jun 20, 2013

On a recent layover in Thailand to continue our work with UXO (unexploded ordnance) in Laos, a few of us at ASI seized the opportunity to venture outside of Bangkok for a day.  What we found was the Damnoenssaduak floating market.  Consisting of an intricate network of canals, it’s a writhing medley of commerce where everything from exotic fruits to touristy kitsch are hawked daily.

Named after a historical canal of the same name, the original Damnoenssaduak was constructed under the order of the King Mongkut.  Known to westerners as the obstinate king from The King and I, the real-life Mongkut was in many ways a much more nuanced character than portrayed in film.  His reign, from 1851 to 1868, was time of great change in Siam (modern-day Thailand).  As Siam was facing the increasing pressure of Western expansionism, Mongkut took measures to modernize his country both culturally and technologically while retaining its national identity.  During his lifetime he earned the nickname “Father of Science and Technology” and to this day he is revered by the people of Thailand.

Under his reign, modern medicine was brought to Siam and the country’s first non-government run newspaper was published.  Women’s rights were drastically improved and forced marriages were banned.  He introduced modern geography and commissioned a series of canals built throughout the country.  In a day when the main form of transportation was foot, the canals were a small revolution in transportation.

Being from a company that named one of their vessels after Nikola Tesla, the so-called “Godfather of the 20th Century”, it was easy to appreciate the innovations King Mongkut championed as he navigated his country through a tumultuous time in history.  After all, it’s largely due to the work of that other innovator, Tesla, that we were here sitting in the bottom of a small boat in the first place.  Without the technologies he championed, without his contributions to our collective understanding of electromagnetism, we would not be where we are today. 

Armed with refined versions of many of Tesla’s innovations, we are ready.  Ready to help entire countries rid themselves of their unexploded ordnance problems.  Ready to explore our Earth’s great oceans, uncovering secrets lost to time. 

Ready to march forward to a new and exciting tomorrow.

Ready to help and assist you. 

Whether it means helping you clear a waterway of UXO so you can begin construction on your bridge’s foundation or collecting core samples in New York Harbor and performing the necessary laboratory analyses needed to get you your dredging permit.
We are here to help you.

If you are ready, and would like Aqua Survey’s assistance, contact us today.

And if not, at least check out this video of our visit to the floating market.  In it you can watch Senior Environmental Scientist Don Nazario as he shops for a few souvenirs for his two daughters and haggles with the locals.

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Rescue Archeology: Lantana, Florida

Apr 02, 2013

Aqua Survey was contracted by Seafarer Exploration (Stock: SFRX) to use our newly configured super-high-powered EM63 time domain electromagnetic induction (TDEMI) metal detection system to locate scattered metallic cultural resources from a 300-year old Spanish wreck.  The survey was completed in January this year.  What makes this project exciting is it is the first time this military-grade equipment (usually used to detect unexploded bombs on land) was used to detect metallic objects buried under sand offshore.  A TDEMI system beams a magnetic current deep into sediments and has receivers to collect return signals from buried excited metal targets.  In addition, the EM63 systems allow us to assess each target’s decay curve.  Different metals (gold, silver, copper, iron…) have unique decay curves.  These decay curves allow us to predict the metallic nature of each detected target.  The same abilities help unexploded ordnance (bomb) technicians discriminate between an aluminum soda can and a sub-munition in the Lao jungles.

As soon as all the permits and notices are in order, Seafarer Exploration will begin to investigate the targets.  Just as we were excited to use this same technology on land to assist the Lao National Museum find an ancient buried city gate in Vientiane, we eagerly await the investigation (dig-out) of each of these high-value targets at the Lantana site.

More later.

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An Archeological Race Against Time

Sep 14, 2012

The meeting with Ravenscroft was taking an unexpected turn. Reaching into a box, she pulls out a skull with one hand and with the other slides a flimsy, dull looking metal plate onto its forehead.  She muses, “One, two thousand years ago she was buried with a fine silver plate. Now it’s more silver oxide than anything.” Her “office” has dozens of neatly organized piles of stones placed throughout the room on sturdy bench tables, and boxes everywhere… perhaps more bones.  Open, screenless windows provide the only light.

Still holding the skull and pondering who she might be holding she quotes Shakespeare, “Yorick I knew him well… Look at the teeth, she probably used them to chew leather.” Who was this person that lived so long ago? Poor enough in life to use her teeth to make leather softer, yet respected enough in death to be buried with such finery?  Perhaps just as perplexing, who was this woman whose office I now stood in?

Eric and I had been in country for nearly two weeks.  Having just accomplished our primary mission of testing our newly engineered bomb detection equipment deep in the Lao jungles of Sepon, I had made the two flights to get to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, to meet the National Museum’s Marion Ravenscroft (pictured above, with umbrella).

Marion went over to a window, lit a cigarette and blew a couple of clouds of smoke politely out the window.  About my age, this Aussie expat with thick-rimmed glasses had a sense of urgency written all over her face.  She needed to save Laos’ past from its future.  That’s what rescue archeology is all about.  Her commitment is indefatigable as she coordinates entire archeological digs on budgets so miniscule as to be comparable to a couple months rent in Manhattan, often working under crushing timeframes of a few days. It’s no coincidence Indiana Jones’s love interest in the first Indiana Jones film is a woman named Marion Ravenwood.

-continues from newsflash here-

Marion had a job for us.  The government had just granted her a twenty day window to perform an archeological survey and rescue on a two acre plot of land along the Mekong River before the construction of a school would begin.  She wanted us to use our EM equipment to perform a survey to help locate metallic targets, perhaps artifacts.  It was an ancient plot of land, used by humans for thousands of years.  Back in the 1500’s Vientiane was a walled city with only one way in from the Mekong River: the fortified City Gate.  Marion believes that the remains of this entrance gate are buried at this soon to be construction site.  The leather chewer’s skull had been found nearby.  This was most definitely an important site.  If we didn’t hurry everything else might be lost forever.

When a project like this comes your way it’s impossible to say no. Unfortunately I had other business to attend to back in the States.  I flew back, but left Aqua Survey’s Eric Smith behind onsite to perform an EM survey and assist in the recovery of relics.

The survey has been completed.  There were over 60 metal targets identified.  Ten of the targets in a row are probably a forgotten modern pipeline.  The other 50 are more promising.  In the coming days much will be revealed.

Look for an update next week.

-Ken Hayes, President Aqua Survey, Inc.

Related Videos

Aqua Survey recovers the missing “Amityville Horror” handgun.

Vibracoring in Daniel Boone National Forest

Aqua Survey’s Underwater Unexploded Ordnance Survey Capabilities

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HANDLE WITH CARE: Surviving the Centuries

Aug 27, 2012

“Antiquity is the aristocracy of history.”
-Alexandre Dumas Père

Dwarfed by a penny, its delicate filigree metal-work could easily be crushed between your fingers.  Yet, amazingly, this small gold bead has survived nearly four hundred years on the bottom of the sea.

Most likely once part of a rosary, the bead experienced markedly better luck than the ship that carried it, the Santa Margarita.  The Margarita along with her sister ship the Nuestra Senora de Atocha were part of a 1622 treasure fleet transporting unimaginable wealth from the New World back to Spain for the crown.  The trip was cut short when a massive storm sank both vessels not far from the Florida Keys.

Since 2008 Aqua Survey has been providing surveys of the wreckage debris trails of the Margarita and Atocha.  The bead, as well as a dagger which Aqua Survey helped recover, was a gift from Captain Dan Porter of Blue Water Ventures in gratitude of the EM survey work we provided him as a client. 

Blue Water Ventures worked the widely dispersed Margarita trail from 2006 to 2011 recovering more than $16 million in rare and extraordinary treasures and artifacts.

Whether it’s a handgun, a priceless artifact or an unexploded Mark 81 bomb, if it’s underwater we’ll help you find it.

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MAXIM News Article

May 08, 2012

“(the) gun was just pulled from the canal behind America’s most famous haunted house. It could change everything we thought we knew about the grisly murders that took place there 38 years ago.”

Read the entire article here.

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CASE STUDY:  Amityville Handgun Recovery

Feb 28, 2012

Aqua Survey was contracted by LA-based documentary-maker Ryan Katzenbach who had been researching the infamous 1974 DeFeo family mass murder in Amityville, New York.  Police at the time recovered one weapon, a .35 caliber Marlin 336 hunting rifle.  Based on his research, Katzenbach suspected a second weapon, a snub-nosed .38, was also in the killer’s possession the night of the murders.  He called in Aqua Survey to perform an EM survey of a section of canal near the scene of the murders where he believed this second weapon may have been discarded. 

Towing an EM-array behind one of our vessels, we located 317 metallic objects in the area of interest.  The location of all objects were charted within inches of accuracy using survey-grade DGPS.  Next, our geophysicists performed an advanced computer analysis on the targets in order to distinguish and prioritize them.  From the 317 metallic targets found onsite, the ASI team narrowed the possibilities down to a handful of targets to be investigated. 

Using DGPS an ASI survey vessel placed the recovery team over each suspected target location.  An EM-Probe was then hand-pushed into the sediment to further pinpoint each object.  Divers used the probe’s location to guide them through up to 4 feet of soft mud to reach each target.

Upon diving on the third target, a volunteer diver from the Long Island Diver’s Association soon surfaced.  He held in his hand the remains of the trigger/receiver section of a top-break revolver, seemingly of .38 caliber.  The gun was promptly bagged and tagged by the Suffolk County Police who supervised the recovery.

Go Beyond Side Scan Sonar and Magnetometer - Call Aqua Survey

Looking for a key piece of evidence from a crime that happened forty years ago or yesterday? Propel your team past the well known limitations of Side Scan Sonar and Magnetometer equipment.  ASI’s topside scientists are here to help you find what you’re looking for by giving your dive team an EM military-grade electronics edge. 

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