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He sent the ship five times around the island, which is four-and-a-half miles long, to map with multibeam sonar.
He sent the autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) around the island twice to map the shallower areas close to the reef.
It was a different story in the primary search zone, the site of the supposed landing gear in the photo.
“If the plane was up there, pieces would be moving down slope,” says Ballard, but the ROVs and the watching scientists found nothing.“We visually examined 100 percent of the island down to 750 meters [2,400 feet] and did not see evidence of the plane,” says Ballard. “It called upon everything we’ve got.”And he doesn’t consider the search to be over.
It drops down to the ocean floor in a series of steep cliffs and ramps, most dramatically in the primary search zone.
And like a mountain’s streams, chutes funnel debris down the slopes. Hercules and Argus combed the chutes from top to bottom.
Pictures: World War II at sea From Britain's Royal Navy and the U. Navy to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, naval warfare played an important role in the many battles of World War II (1939-45).Based on Earhart’s last message and radio signals after she disappeared, the group believes that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan may have landed on Nikumaroro in 1937 after they couldn’t find tiny Howland Island, the next stop on her world flight.The theory goes that Earhart set down during low tide on the reef that surrounds Nikumaroro.According to Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist at the University of South Florida, the skull belonged to an adult female.“We don’t know if it’s her or not but all lines of evidence point to the 1940 bones being in this museum,” she says.
Inside the seawater-filled bin was a laptop-size silver sheet and a crumbling black fragment that was part of something that looked like a barrel.