Jeff Schmaltz / MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
An official reason for the destruction of the Indonesian submarine of 53 people on board has not yet been established earlier this month. But some speculations have caused the undersea phenomenon, which has been observed by submarines since at least World War II, although it has only improved, understood only in recent decades.
A senior Indonesian Navy official suggested earlier this week that “internal waves” could push the KRI Nanggala 402 below the crushing depths, causing the ship to be lost and all aboard. He cited satellite imagery that showed the presence of such waves in the area during the disappearing period.
Such waves – while observers on the water surface rarely notice – can reach submarine heights that cause dizziness and concern for submarines. They are made up of the interaction of strong currents, warmer and cooler ocean layers, and underwater geography.
Internal waves occur in specific oceans around the world, such as the Strait of Gibraltar that connects the Mediterranean Sea with parts of the Western Pacific and South China Sea. It is also known to exist in the Lombok Strait area of Indonesia where Nanggala was lost.
Matthew Alford, assistant director of the marine physical laboratory at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, said the United States, China and Russia. It “spent a lot of money” on the study of internal waves in the South China Sea due to the potential impact. About strategic marine naval operations
“[I]Internal waves are very strong and dangerous as they sweep the ocean floor. (And there could be anything in it, including divers or subordinates) down hundreds of meters in just a few minutes, Alford said in an email to NPR.
“The Lombok Strait is also an area with strong internal waves,” said phenomenon researcher Alford.
Although he had never heard of the waves inside the submarine sinking. But it’s a “plausible” situation, Alford said.
Indonesian Navy / AP
A 1966 US Navy study states that “the passage of large amplitude internal waves can make it difficult to control the depth of a submarine, especially when the submarine is sailing quietly.” With low speed, “reported the title. Internal waves: their influence on naval operationsAdded that the said wave “May cause the submarine to sink uncontrollably”
In World War II, submarines avoided the Strait of Gibraltar, in part because they were aware of their reputation for spreading unusual undersea waves that were considered dangerous, David Farmer, a physical oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island, told the USA. Today in 2014
At the height of the Cold War in 1984, a Soviet submarine apparently running under a tanker to cover its way out of the strait suddenly crashed into the tanker hull, causing damage to both ships and force. Let the submarine rise to the surface of the water The collision was caused by internal waves that caused the submarine to unexpectedly charge the surface of the water.
Maarten Buijsman, a marine scientist at the University of Southern Mississippi, admits it is possible that internal waves could sink Nanggala. “Some internal waves may have large amplitudes and can move submarines,” he said.
The waves “are built on steep terrain due to the subsurface currents,” he told NPR. “In the South China Sea, the amplitude of the internal waves may be about 100 meters (330 feet).”
In Nanggala’s case, what happened may be the opposite of what happened to the Soviet submarines in the Strait of Gibraltar in the 1980s, instead of the internal waves, causing the submarines to plunge towards the surface. Is pushed deeper than designed for safe use.
Nanggala’s death is still under investigation. According to Indonesian Rear Admiral Yudo Margono, the ship sits at least three pieces on the ocean floor at a depth of almost 840 m (2,750 ft) deeper than the 200 m underwater “collapse depth”. 655 feet)
The internal waves are just one plausible explanation for the destruction of a German diesel powered submarine. Although it was renovated in South Korea, completed in 2012, it is an old ship that entered service with the Indonesian Navy in the early 1980s.
It was also reported that Nanggala was preparing for a torpedo drill at a time when the lack of radio contact and the torpedo accident was the cause of the loss of the famous submarine in the past. In August 2000, a torpedo explosion in a pipe on the Russian submarine Kursk caused other torpedoes to sink the ship into the Barent Sea with a total of 118 crew members, according to an official investigation.
Decades earlier, in 1968, the nuclear-powered USS Scorpion was lost with 99 crew members.The cause of the scorpion’s sinking has never been fully proven. But one theory suggests that the submarine surrendered to the “hot runner” torpedo, which was not expected to enter service while still in the pipeline.
During a media briefing in Jakarta earlier this week, former submarine Admiral Iwan Isnurwanto painted a grim picture of KRI Nanggala’s final moments.
If it is an internal wave, he said “That must be natural that we are against.”
“We will be dragged by a wave for our descent very quickly,” he said, adding. “No one can fight with nature”