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February 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 25, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the February, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Underwater in an Earthquake. Dive photographer Alex Mustard was diving in Grand Cayman on January 19 when he felt the 5.8 earthquake that hit a week after the 7.0 one that devastated Haiti. Mustard told DIVE, It was clear all was not normal. The noise was a deep, roaring, rumbling sound, not unlike engines on a large ship. My next thought was that it was a free flow. After 15 seconds, the sound stopped. No sand was stirred, and I didnt notice any changes in the fish. Im glad I was not diving in an overhead environment when it was shaking.

Treasure on the Vandenberg. Pat Clyne, a documentary filmmaker, has hidden a $2,400 silver coin from the 17th-century Spanish wreck Atocha on the Vandenberg near Key West, and finders keepers. Clyne worked with Mel Fishers crew to salvage the Atochas treasures and he says, I had a couple of coins left over, and thought it would be exciting for divers. Clyne says he has clues on his YouTube page (user name: pjclyne) but the URL hes referring to is defunct, so e-mail him there or at imacdigest@aol.com to ask him for the seven clues. If you find the coin, hell send you its certificate of authenticity.

Scuba Tank Helps Climate Research. Scientists take air samples to learn about the atmosphere, but the oldest samples of pristine air only date back to 1978. Now the archive has been expanded thanks to a diver who never throws anything away. John Allport of Melbourne, Australia, dropped off a tank to be filled with air back in 1968 but never got around to using it. When Allport, 76, heard Australias Atmospheric Research Centre boasting about having the oldest air archive in the southern hemisphere, he said, No they havent, Ive got the oldest air. While its not the cleanest air sample, the Centre says Allports donation is indeed the oldest one known to science.

Speaking of Tanks. If youre going to recycle your tank, please, exhaust all the air first. At a recycling station in Needham, MA, last month, an employee removed an aluminum tank from the discard pile and put it in the main office because it required special handling. When it fell over, the tanks top valve was knocked off and it flew through the air, striking a chair and smashing through a sheet of drywall. Luckily, no one was in the office at the time, but theyve got it out for the offending diver who dropped off the tank -- and has been told in the past to empty his tanks before bringing them in.

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