SERDP 2015 Project-of-the-Year Award for Munitions Response
(Initially Released December 7, 2015) Assessing and predicting the burial, mobility, and re-exposure of underwater munitions is an important component of the management and potential remediation of underwater munitions sites. Munitions from former or active DoD installations may migrate underwater or in the near-shore environment and become re-exposed, posing human safety concerns. Multiple DoD research efforts are working to improve understanding of the hydrodynamic mechanisms that drive munitions burial and mobility, and current research aims to quantify these forces within parameterized models.
Dr. Traykovski and his team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution approached this problem by collecting field measurements on munitions in the highly energetic, sandy, near-shore environment of Long Point, Massachusetts. Continuous measurements were obtained using in-situ rotary sidescan sonar and an ultra-short baseline (USBL) acoustic tracking system. They found that the migration of munitions was highly dependent on sandwave migration, munitions density, and storm event strength. By collecting high quality data sets and developing foundational models, Dr. Traykovski has provided a baseline for understanding the factors that influence munitions migration and set the standard for future research.
Dr. Calantoni and his team at the Naval Research Laboratory deployed equipment to record in-situ time-series measurements of boundary layer processes responsible for munitions mobility while simultaneously monitoring the mobility of surrogate munitions. They obtained sector scanning sonar imagery measurements within a highly energetic, sandy environment at Duck, North Carolina, and Panama City Beach, Florida. The project team observed munitions burial at multiple water depths (6m and 8m) and incorporated these observations into analyses of horizontal and lateral munitions mobility. These datasets provide information that will be used to verify and validate existing mobility models and develop new conceptual models for fate and transport of munitions. The data collected for this study highlight the role of hydrodynamics, near-shore bathymetry, and munition density in determining the mobility of munitions.