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New Zealand's Tsunami Bomb Secret

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    Tsunami bomb NZ s devastating war secret By Eugene Bingham The New Zealand Herald 30.06.2000 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?ObjectID=14727 Top-secret
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2005
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      Tsunami bomb NZ's devastating war secret


      By Eugene Bingham
      The New Zealand Herald
      30.06.2000
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?ObjectID=14727

      Top-secret wartime experiments were conducted off the coast of
      Auckland to perfect a tidal wave bomb, declassified files reveal.

      An Auckland University professor seconded to the Army set off a
      series of underwater explosions triggering mini-tidal waves at
      Whangaparaoa in 1944 and 1945.

      Professor Thomas Leech's work was considered so significant that
      United States defence chiefs said that if the project had been
      completed before the end of the war it could have played a role as
      effective as that of the atom bomb.

      Details of the tsunami bomb, known as Project Seal, are contained in
      53-year-old documents released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
      and Trade.

      Papers stamped "top secret" show the US and British military were
      eager for Seal to be developed in the post-war years too. They even
      considered sending Professor Leech to Bikini Atoll to view the US
      nuclear tests and see if they had any application to his work.

      He did not make the visit, although a member of the US board of
      assessors of atomic tests, Dr Karl Compton, was sent to New Zealand.

      "Dr Compton is impressed with Professor Leech's deductions on the
      Seal project and is prepared to recommend to the Joint Chiefs of
      Staff that all technical data from the test relevant to the Seal
      project should be made available to the New Zealand Government for
      further study by Professor Leech," said a July 1946 letter from
      Washington to Wellington.

      Professor Leech, who died in his native Australia in 1973, was the
      university's dean of engineering from 1940 to 1950.

      News of his being awarded a CBE in 1947 for research on a weapon led
      to speculation in newspapers around the world about what was being
      developed.

      Though high-ranking New Zealand and US officers spoke out in support
      of the research, no details of it were released because the work was
      on-going.

      A former colleague of Professor Leech, Neil Kirton, told the Weekend
      Herald that the experiments involved laying a pattern of explosives
      underwater to create a tsunami.

      Small-scale explosions were carried out in the Pacific and off
      Whangaparaoa, which at the time was controlled by the Army.

      It is unclear what happened to Project Seal once the final report
      was forwarded to Wellington Defence Headquarters late in the 1940s.

      The bomb was never tested on a full scale, and Mr Kirton doubts that
      Aucklanders would have noticed the trials.

      "Whether it could ever be resurrected ... Under some circumstances I
      think it could be devastating."

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