Seeing a problem sticking out of the surface of the water is one thing when you are a mariner. You know there is something in the way, and you know to take the iceberg approach: what’s underneath the water is at least ten times what you are able to see, maybe more. You go out of your way to avoid the obstacle and move along. The problem comes in when you can’t see it directly, when it’s just a few feet under the water, out of sight but never out of the way. A geographic landmass known as Ripple Rock was one such item. Situated in the Seymour Narrows of Discovery Passage in British Columbia, Canada, Ripple Rock was a seamount that had two peaks, one nine feet below the surface, the other twenty-one feet below. They were problematic not only for impacts, but because their location caused dangerous eddy conditions when the tide was moving. When George Vancouver encountered the region on his exploration, he referred to it as “one of the vilest stretches of water in the world.” He was not wrong…hundreds of ships went down at Ripple Rock and hundreds of people drowned in the accidents.
In the early 1930s discussions started in earnest to remove Ripple Rock from the narrows once and for all. Early attempts included drilling barges anchored with tons of anchors and held fast with steel cables. When the rate of cable failure reached one per every 48 hours, that plan was abandoned. Discussions that included nuclear explosions were held, but ultimately, after three million Canadian dollars, two and a half years, nearly half a mile of tunnel that went under the sea floor and out to the underside of Ripple Rock, and over 1,270 metric tons of Nitramex 2H explosive were packed into “coyote” shafts throughout the peaks.
On April 5th, 1958, at 9:31 in the morning, one of the largest blasts that didn’t involve nuclear material went off, lowering Ripple Rock’s tops down nearly fifty feet underwater and blasting rock, mud, water and other debris almost a thousand feet into the air. The only people who were inside the three-mile exclusion zone were housed in a bunker for their own safety.
Bang and Shift!
See above (that about sums it up)
Canadians would Never do it today
Much to the chagrin of Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok .. .
Had to be a BUNCH of dead fish floating around after that BANG. LOL
Better living through explosives