One Last Mission for Ship Sunk in Pearl Harbor Attack





For 65 years, the wreck of the USS Arizona has been leaking oil from its grave at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, staining the water, visitors often say, as if it were the ship's blood.

The leaks come from about 500,000 gallons of thick, bunker C fuel oil that remain trapped in the deteriorating hulk -- oil whose "catastrophic" release experts now think is inevitable.

Today, on the anniversary of the attack that plunged the United States into World War II, scientists at a federal research center in Gaithersburg are trying to predict when that might happen. In five years? Or 50? And to do that, they are building a model of the ship: not of plastic and glue, but of data.

The experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology think it is the first mathematical model to simulate the deterioration of a sunken ship and could be used to predict the deterioration of hundreds of wrecks around the country.



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