This is a story for our history buff Outsiders. It involves the dozens of ships that sank during one of World War II’s most epic battles: the Battle of Iwo Jima. The day remains in history books as one of the most violent days in the history of the US Marines. The ships have been largely inaccessible since finding their doom, but that all just unexpectedly changed. The WWII ghost ships started re-appearing recently after seismic activity related to one of Japan’s most volatile volcanoes. For the geography nuts, that’s Mount Suribachi. Here’s what we know about this bizarre phenomenon.
Dozens of WWII “Ghost Ships” Recovered
In the aftermath of the Earth’s movement, folks started to spot the leftover hulks of 24 Japanese transport vessels. Before their resurgence as WWII “ghost ships,” they were captured by the US Navy during the tail end of the war. You can access video footage from Japanese reporters of the scene here. Otherwise, a Geography teacher and author also shared this Google Earth gif of the strange event. They dubbed it an “isostatic change due to tectonic activity.”
Check it out:
#Isostatic change due to #tectonic activity 2006 v 2020 on W coast of Iwo Jima (Iō Tō) Japan:— BC (@mildthing99) October 19, 2021
150–200 mm pa uplift along with WWII ships. Marine planation maintains level of wave-cut + wave-built platform.@Froudo_baggins@Johnny_suputama @javiercallejaEShttps://t.co/MIjqvEXapm pic.twitter.com/0k4LT7Ch55
Because the island lacked the facilities for it at the time, these ships were moved to the western part of Iwa Jima at one point. Essentially, they formed their own port there. During the war, they acted as a sort of “breakwater.” This meant that they took on a defensive role to protect their soldiers and supplies.
Their location falls just off the coast of a place called Brown Beach island. This area reportedly acted as an artificial naval base before the mainland attacks on Japan. Now, years later, the seabed started to rise, appearing to raise the dead like zombies. Just in time for Halloween, too.
Should We Be Worried About the Japanese Volcano?
Apparently, that’s volcanic ash that the ships are now resting on and this could be indicative of a bigger problem. The director of the Japanese government’s Volcano Research Promotion Center just commented on that actually. Setsuya Nakada says we should remain cautious.
‘The discolored sea area has spread to surrounding areas, which indicates that the volcanic activity has not diminished yet. There is a possibility of a big eruption on Iwo Jima.”
Most recently, other volcanic activity has wreaked havoc in La Palma, Spain. Here, thousands of people have faced evacuation orders ahead of eruptions that go as far back as mid-September. Actually, citizens are concerned about wildlife trapped there like three dogs whose only option for rescue at this point is by the use of drones.