Fascinating article from WaPo this morning about the oil still leaking from the wreck of the Arizona:

When the structure collapses, Foecke said, the oil will “erupt” toward the surface. “It’s going to break the wreck up and open,” he said. “The oil does have buoyancy, and it’s trying to find a way out, and there’s quite a lot of it.”

Even though Pearl Harbor is fairly industrialized, Foecke said, a big leak would create “a huge mess.” A spill of 100,000 gallons of jet fuel in 1987 fouled a mangrove swamp and a wildlife refuge and took two months to clean up, according to news reports of the time.

For now, tiny slicks scattered on the surface are all that’s visible. They expect the ship to burst and pollute the harbor in about a decade, 75 years after the Japanese took it down.

I posted some reminiscences by survivors last month; listen here and here if you’re in the mood. National Geographic has a dynamite multimedia page about the attack and the VideoRay site has underwater footage from when its probe dived on the Arizona a few years ago. There’s a shot of a tube of toothpaste still inside a cup.

Finally, here’s a newsreel of the attack. Pay attention to the segment where the attack begins, starting at around 55 seconds in; you’ll see bombs descending and then you see a huge explosion on a ship. If memory serves, that’s the actual footage of the moment of impact on the Arizona. The bomb went straight through the deck, hit the magazine, and blew the front of the ship apart. 1,177 men died. Most of them are still there.

Tags: Arizona