National Park Service
The Archeology of the Atomic Bomb
A Submerged Cultural Resources Assessment of the Sunken Fleet of Operation Crossroads at Bikini and Kwajalein Atoll Lagoons
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Secretary of the Interior, Manuel Lujan, Jr.


CHAPTER ONE: Introduction
Daniel J. Lenihan

Project Mandate and Background

CHAPTER TWO: Operation Crossroads
James P. Delgado

The Concept of a Naval Test Evolves
Preparing for the Tests
The Able Test
The Baker Test
Decontamination Efforts
The Legacy of Crossroads
The 1947 Scientific Resurvey

CHAPTER THREE: Ship's Histories for the Sunken Vessels
James P. Delgado

USS Saratoga
USS Arkansas
HIJMS Nagato
HIJMS Sakawa
USS Prinz Eugen
USS Anderson
USS Lamson
USS Apogon
USS Pilotfish
USS Gilliam
USS Carlisle
LCT-414, 812, 1114, 1175, and 1237

CHAPTER FOUR: Site Descriptions
James P. Delgado and Larry E. Murphy

Reconstructing the Nuclear Detonations
Site Descriptions: Vessels Lost During the Able Test
     USS Gilliam
     USS Carlisle
Site Descriptions: Vessels Lost During the Baker Test
     USS Arkansas
     USS Saratoga
     USS Pilotfish
     USS Apogon
     HIJMS Nagato
Site Descriptions: Vessels Lost After the Test
     USS Prinz Eugen
Final Observations

CHAPTER FIVE: The Significance of the Sunken Vessels of Operation Crossroads
James P. Delgado

Monuments and Memorials to the Dawn of the Atomic Age
Insuring the Navy's Survival in the Age of the Bomb
A Demonstration of Wealth and Power
Crossroads as a Spectacle and Demonstration
Learning to Live with the Bomb
The Reality of the Bomb: Radioactive Fears
Crossroads at the Bottom of the Sea
Confronting the Atomic Age

CHAPTER SIX: Nuclear Park Potential
Daniel J. Lenihan

Park Appeal
Park Protection
Interpretive/Educational Devices
Diving Safety/Liability
Special Diving Hazards: Explosives, Radiation
Environmental Hazards Posed by Ships
Mooring Systems
Conclusions and Recommendations

APPENDIX I: Target Vessels at Bikini and Their Disposition

APPENDIX II: Relics of Operation Crossroads

APPENDIX III: Estimates of Radiological Dose at Bikini (W. L. Robison, 1990)

APPENDIX IV: Archeological Site Record Forms for the Documented Shipwrecks





1. Bikini Atoll, from a 1947 Navy Chart
2. Commander David McCampbell locates and plots the wreck locations
3. The Navy's Explosive Ordnance Demolition Unit One safes a 350-lb. depth bomb
4. Lengthy oxygen decompression stops were required
5. Boat launching by front-end loader
6. Daniel Lenihan, Larry Nordby and Jerry Livingston compare notes
7. The Bikini Council's dive team takes measurements on Saratoga
8. The system of trilateration used to map the wrecks is discussed


1. Target area at Bikini, 1946
2. Admiral W. H. P. Blandy, commander of Joint Task Force One
3. The Able Target Array, showing the actual point of detonation
4. The Baker Target Array, showing the actual point of detonation
5. A Mark III "Fat Man" bomb casing
6. Press release chart depicting "scrap" costs of Operation Crossroads
7. Two goats aboard USS Niagara
8. Nevada, the target vessel for Able
9. Journalists aboard LCT-52 inspect USS Independence after Able
10. Able's mushroom cloud towers over Bikini Atoll
11. Able, from Bikini Island
12. LSM-60 suspended the bomb detonated during Baker
13. Baker blasts out of the lagoon after detonation
14. Navy tug sprays down USS New York after Baker
15. Decontamination efforts aboard Prinz Eugen
16. Pennsylvania is scuttled off Kwajalein
17. The Bikini Scientific Resurvey teams lands at Bikini, 1947
18. Divers prepare to descend on an unidentified sunken ship


1. Saratoga in drydock at Hunter's Point, San Francisco, 1928
2. Bow view of Saratoga
3. Saratoga off Iwo Jima, February 21, 1945
4. Saratoga arrives at San Francisco on a Magic Carpet voyage
5. Saratoga being prepared for Operation Crossroads
6. Saratoga sails for Bikini
7. Saratoga sinks at Bikini
8. Arkansas on its trials, 1912
9. Stern view of Arkansas, 1945
10. Arkansas' bow
11. Nagato underway in the 1920s
12. Nagato's A and B turrets and distinctive superstructure, at Bikini, May 1946
13. The "capture" of Nagato at Yokasuka, August 30, 1945
14. Sakawa, circa 1945
15. Sakawa sinking
16. Prinz Eugen at the Krupp yard in Kiel, circa 1939-1940
17. Prinz Eugen at Philadelphia, March 1946
18. Artist's perspective of Prinz Eugen at Kwajalein, 1973
19. Anderson
20. Lamson off Yorktown, Virginia, April 1939
21. Depiction of the destruction of Lamson during Able
22. The stern of sunken Lamson after Able
23. Apogon surfaces after a test submergence at Bikini, 1946
24. Pilotfish enters San Francisco Bay, November 1945
25. Gilliam, 1946
26. Depiction of Able's detonation over Gilliam and Carlisle
27. 1946 drawing of the sunken Carlisle


1. Actual positions of the sunken ships at Bikini, 1989
2. The most famous photograph of Baker
3. Wreckage of midships house, Gilliam
4. Gas cylinders in No. 1 hold of Gilliam
5. Stern of Carlisle
6. Stern of Arkansas
7. Capsized battleship New York
8. Perspective sketch of Arkansas
9. Daniel Lenihan swims forward past the port bilge keel of Arkansas
10. Port aircastle of the capsized Arkansas
11, 12. Two ROV views of the barrels of the 14-inch guns of Arkansas' No. 1 turret
13. Inside Arkansas' port aircastle
14. Inside Arkansas' port aircastle, 1946
15. Saratoga, hit by the first blast generated wave
16. Saratoga's island, stack, and No. 1, 5-inch mount after stripping
17. The same view today
18. Saratoga's flight deck
19. The secondary conning position on the forward edge of Saratoga's collapsed stack
20. Perspective painting of Saratoga
21. Perspective drawing of Saratoga
22. Profile views of Saratoga
23. Plan view of Saratoga
24. Mark 37 director
25. No. 1, 5-inch/38 caliber mount
26. Gun tub, with quad 40mm mount
27. Single 5-inch/30 caliber AA gun
28. Live 5-inch/38 caliber cartridges
29. Five-inch cartridge case, showing the cartridge
30. Divers illuminate the bow and mooring cables
31. Army 155mm antiaircraft gun
32. Installing a ruptured foil peak pressure gauge on a "Christmas Tree," in 1946
33. Aft "Christmas Tree" blast-gauge tower
34. Lead indentation pressure gauges
35. Catherine Courtney inspects the blast covers on Saratoga's bridge
36. Helm position on Saratoga's bridge, showing the binnacle, helm, and radar
37. A 500-lb. bomb on USS Yorktown
38. Five general purpose 500-lb. bombs, AN-Mk 64, on their bomb carts
39. Two views of the Helldiver
40. ABC-Television divers illuminate an SBF-4E Helldiver on the hangar deck
41. Pilot's cockpit instrument panel
42. A single Mk 13 aerial torpedo, on a cradle
43. A Mk 13 torpedo suspended beneath a TBM-3E on USS Yorktown
44. Daniel Lenihan illuminates an unbroken light on the overhead inside Saratoga
45. Radio equipment in the emergency radio equipment compartment
46. Perspective sketch of Pilotfish
47. Jerry Livingston hovers over the sail of Pilotfish
48. ROV view of Apogon
49. Apogon's stern
50. YO-160 on the surface after Able
51. Daniel Lenihan swims past the rudders and toward two of Nagato's four screws
52. Daniel Lenihan inspects the muzzle of one of Nagato's 16.1-inch guns
53. Catherine Courtney hovers over the superstructure of Nagato
54. Perspective sketches of Nagato
55. Bow of the capsized Nagato
56. Larry Nordby maps the aft deck of LCT-1175
57. Anchor mount LCT-1175
58. Prinz Eugen's stern
59. Prinz Eugen's rudder, a shaft, and a screw
60. Daniel Lenihan inspects a partially buried "Christmas Tree" blast gauge tower


1. Able and Baker day stamp cancellations
2. USS Skate in the aftermath of Able
3. USS Skate makes its triumphant, yet radioactive return to the fleet after Able
4. Breech and the muzzles of Nagato's 16.1-inch guns
5. Celebrating the end of Operation Crossroads
6. A sailor paints a mushroom cloud for Able on Pensacola's battle record
7. Independence at San Francisco in January 1951
8. Certificate issued to the 42,000 participants in Operation Crossroads
9. Prinz Eugen's bell
10. Journalists inspect burned test materials on the foredeck of Pensacola
11. Battle record painted on Saratoga's island, 1945


1. Underwater visitation by nondivers
2. Underwater monument
3. Interpretative exhibits in a visitor center
4. Package of materials experimented with at Isle Royale National Park
5. Foldout brochure to be consulted by visitor before diving
6. Three-dimensional models of shipwrecks
7. Special earphones allowing visitors to hear wireless communications
8. Daniel Lenihan takes radiation readings on the lagoon bottom next to Saratoga
9. Mooring buoys with appropriate visitor use guidelines

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Last Updated: 22-Sep-2008