Tsunami Bomb Weapon and The Project 'Seal'-The Generation Of Waves




Project “Seal”, or the investigation of the potentialities of inundation by means of artificially produce tidal* waves arose from a suggestion made by Commander E.A. Gibson to Lieutenant General Sir Edward Puttick, Chief of General Staff (N.Z.) on the 13th January 1944.

* The word tidal is not strictly correct. However, since the objective was the production of effects similar to those produced by naturally occurring tidal waves, the adjective has been used for the want of a better word.

The former had noted, whilst engaged upon surveys in the Pacific Area during the period 1936 to 1942, that blasting operations upon submerged coral formations occasionally were attended by unexpectedly large waves. General Puttick instructed Colonel C.W. Salmon, the N.Z. Chiefs of Staff Representative in the South Pacific area (Enzedsopac) to place the proposal before Admiral W.F. Halsey, Commander of the South Pacific Area (Comsopac).

Arrangements were made for Wing Commander Gibson, Professor J.M. Snodgrass, University of California, Division of War Research, who was then in the area investigating certain problems relating to submarine warfare, and Professor T.D.J. Leech, who was acting Director of Scientific Developments, Nov/ Zealand, to examine the idea at Noumea in February 1944.

It was decided to test the suggestion by ad hoc trials under the guidance of a team comprising Captain W.L. Erdman, U.S.N., Colonel Salmon, Wing Commander Gibson, Professors Snodgrass and Leech. Exploratory work was undertaken for the purpose of determining:
(a) The influence of certain variations in charge size and shape;
(b) The directional effects of a series of surface charges arranged to conform with certain geometrical patterns.
(c) Some idea of the mechanism of the action.

2.2 The results were incorporated in a report dated 31st March 1944 which was approved by Admiral Halsey and transmitted by him to the New Zealand Chiefs of Staff with a request that New Zealand undertake further investigations, as shown by the following extract:

“The results of these experiments, in my opinion, show that inundation in amphibious warfare has definite and far reaching possibilities as an offensive weapon. It would be very desirable to have further developments carried out to establish a practicable method and procedure which could be used in offensive warfare. I would be grateful if this development could be continued to completion by New Zealand officers. All practicable assistance of facilities and personnel in this Command will be at your disposal.”

2.3 Admiral Halsey’s request was examined by the New Zealand Chiefs of Staff Committee, and proposals for implementation were submitted to and approved by the War Cabinet on the 5th May. They provided for the establishment of an Array Research Unit under the command of Professor Leech, who would be directly responsible to the Minister of the Armed Forces and War Co-ordination, Sir William Perry.

The establishment of the Research Unit, known as the 24th Army Troops Company, N.Z.E., provided for the following Sections:

Headquarters Section (N.Z. Army) – 64
Research Section (D.3.I.R.) – 27
Works Section (R.N.Z.A.F.) – 39
Photographic Section (R.N.Z,A.P. & D.3.I.R.) – 4
Explosives Section (U. S.N.) – 10
Total – 144

This unit was only partially manned.

The Headquarters Section was responsible for personnel, security and messing matters. The Research Section was under the direct control of the Commanding Officer. The Works Section was responsible for all constructive work. The Explosives Section was made up of specialist officers and petty officers of the U.S.N. Apart from the Headquarters Section, the others were responsible for meeting the technical requirements of the Research Section.

The original suggestion for utilizing the fortress site on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand was adopted. It was reasonably close to Auckland and the existing Array buildings had recently been reduced to a “care and maintenance” basis. From the viewpoint of security it was favorably situated. Close to the area, there were several sites suitably located for the larger experiments proposed. To cater for the small scale work, designed to determine the principles involved, an earthen dam was constructed in one of the valleys, which provided an experimental pool approximately 1,200 ft. long, 200 ft. wide and with depths varying in steps to 24 ft.

4.2 In addition to provision for basic development at Whangaparaoa, plans were laid for an operational test in New Zealand at Taronui Bay, North Auckland, between the Bay of Islands and Whangaroa, This was later abandoned.

4.3 The instrumentation associated with the Research Station called for considerable ad hoc development. Remotely recording wave mechanisms, radio controlled firing and maneuvering devices had to be developed. These and many other details were brought to the prototype stage and operated satisfactorily.

4.4 It was originally intended that Leech would be assisted by a senior group comprising Professor Snodgrass and two eminent Australian hydraulic engineers, Messrs. T.A. Lang and P. de L. Venables. After protracted negotiations these gentlemen were not able to join the team, and the technical direction of the whole project remained throughout the responsibility of Leech.

Contemporaneously with the setting up of the Experimental Station, Dr. E. Marsden, Secretary, D.S.I.R. and Brigadier R.S. Park were able to discuss the question with U.K. scientists interested in cognate problems. These included Sir Geoffrey Taylor, Adviser to the Admiralty, Professor E.D. Ellis, together with Professor Chapman and Dr. W.G. Penny of the Imperial College of Science and Technology. These scientists had been interested in the study of the effects of firing submerged charges; and with the exception of Sir Geoffrey Taylor, all were pessimistic.

Somewhat later, Dr. Marsden discussed the problem with Dr. Vannevar Bush in Washington, and his views were more encouraging. Generally the points of view adopted were based upon theoretical analyses developed for single charges located at considerable depths. Subsequent experimental work demonstrated that the assumptions made in the development of the analyses were invalid for charges fired close to the surface.

5.2 The New Zealand approach to the problem was essentially experimental. While efforts were made to produce a satisfactory theory to explain the mechanism of wave generation with explosive charges close to the water surface, the mathematical difficulties proved intractable. However, the contributions by Sir Geoffrey Taylor and Dr. Penny were invaluable in the examination of a number of factors.

5.3 Detailed studies of the behavior of single charges were made. The results demonstrated that single charges were inefficient in regard to wave production. However, a most significant factor was revealed, which accounted for the earlier observations (para 1.1) of occasional abnormally large waves. There is a small critical depth for the position of the centre of gravity of the charge below the water surface, at which the exchange of energy from the explosive to the wave train is a maximum. Small deviations from this critical depth, which is a function of the weight of the charge and the nature of the explosives are accompanied by markedly rapid decreases in the resultant wave energy. This fact called for the precise location of charges in the later experiments. This shallow critical depth was unsuspected by the U.K. authorities, who had been thinking in terms of a critical depth of much greater magnitude. For a submerged charge, it had been shown by Penny that, when fired at this greater critical depth, the gas bubble attained its maximum size on breaking the surface and was able to produce the greatest wave amplitudes. These amplitudes were found to be less than those produced when the charges were located at the shallow critical depth discovered in the N,Z, experiments.

5.4 The use of multiple charges suitably located to conform with geometrical patterns was found to give superior results,
not only as regards wave amplitudes, but in certain cases pronounced directional effects were produced. In all these cases the resultant wave amplitudes were sensitive to charge spacing, and charge location. The shape of the charge was also important.

Shortly after the “SEAL” Unit commenced operations on the 6th June 1944, there was a change in the Command of the South Pacific Area. This, combined with the many suggestions by senior officers, resulted in changes of policy, without having due regard to the technical difficulties involved.

It did not appear to be realized that time is required to plan and implement experimental programmer. As a result much effort was wasted,

6.2 It was also unfortunate that authorities were originally pessimistic. Subsequent events clearly demonstrated that, because of the absence of personal contact, they had based their decision upon the effects of charges placed at the greater critical depth, and were at the time unfamiliar with the existence of the second and more pertinent critical depth near the surface. These factors, combined with the growing ascendency of the Allied Nations in the Pacific theatre, reduced the operational priority of the project and caused the hew Zealand Government to close it down in January 1945, before the full experimental program was completed and the fundamental scientific problems were solved.

The experimental station at Whangaparaoa was closed down on the 8th, January, 1945. At this time some 3,700 experiments had been carried out with charges ranging from 0.06 lb, to 600 lb. in weight. T.N.T. was used generally, although C.E., nitro-starch and gelignite were employed in some cases.

The evidence resulted in the following conclusions:
(a) Offensive inundation is possible under certain favorable conditions.
(b) Compared with recorded facts relating to tidal waves, amplitudes of the same order of magnitude can be produced, but their wave lengths are shorter,
(c) The efficiency of conversion from explosive energy ^ to wave energy increases materially as the charge weight is increased,
(d) Explosives used close to the water surface produce superior results as compared with charges at greater depths. The location of the charge is critical. Prom practical considerations of maneuvering this feature is advantageous.
(e) The use of single charges is not promising, but multiple charges suitably spaced and located with
regard to geometrical considerations produce superior results.
(f) In 1944, the detonation of large masses of explosive presented a major unsolved problem. However, subsequent developments have shown that this need not be regarded as a serious problem.
(g) With charges of T.N.T. of the order of 2,000 tons divided into, say, ten equal amounts and suitably disposed, wave amplitudes of the order of 30 to 40 ft. are within the bounds of possibility at distances approximating 5 miles off-shore, given favorable and commonly found sea-bottoms.
(h) The use of models similar to those used in Hydraulics Laboratories is imperative to determine the suitability of any given site and the best method of attack.

In 1946 Dr. Karl Compton, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Evaluation Board, visited New Zealand and discussed the Seal project with Leech, who had been invited to represent New Zealand and Australia in a technical capacity at the second Bikini atom bomb trial. The latter was unable to accept the invitation because of the critical conditions at the Auckland University College. However, he supplied data relative to the location of the charge at the critical depth nearer the water surface together with forecasts of wave amplitudes at predetermined points at which wave recorders were to be established. The records wore, it was reported subsequently, in agreement with the forecasts within the limits of experimental error.

8.2 In February 1947, Leech was invited by the Assistant Secretary, U. ^. Navy, to work with Dean M.P. O’Brien, Profess-or-in-charge of the Department of Engineering, University of California, upon the analysis of records obtained at Bikini. Again, the continuing critical conditions at the Auckland University College forced the Council to withhold its permission. During 1948, the University of California published a number of papers relating to certain phases of the project. Since 1948, several requests for the final report have been made by Dr. E. Marsden, N.Z. Scientific Liaison Officer, London, and the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand.


During 1950 circumstances changed sufficiently to permit an effort being made to complete the report. At the same time a small group of post-graduate engineering students of Auckland University College became available and three of these have taken up small projects designed to fill gaps in the work done earlier.

The projects are:
(a) Studies upon certain anomalous effects when waves approach shoaling bottoms. (R.A. Marshall, B.Sc.)
(b) The review of and the development of methods designed to dissipate wave energy. (N.B. Carter.)
(c) A study in the augmentation of wave amplitudes by the application of surface impacts in series. (K.D.T. Shores).

At the end of the year theses will be submitted covering the work done under these headings.

The accompanying report will summarize the principal facts which have emerged from the analysis of a considerable number of observations. The approach to the several issues has been primarily empirical. Dr. Penny’s treatment for deep charges does furnish some significant results and for convenience it has been included a3 on appendix.



1.1 Three methods of generating wave systems have been examined:
(a) Waves produced by an impulse at the surface, which may take the form of mechanical impact by a solid or the expansion of a gas near the water surface.
(b) Waves produced by the expansion of the gas bubble resulting from the explosion of a submerged charge.
(c) Waves produced by the action of a relatively slow displacement under the water surface.

1.2 The first method is discussed in detail in this report. The impact of a solid body, or of the gas liberated by an explosion, with the water surface creates a cavity surrounded by an elevated fringe of water from which the wave system develops. Early work in New Caledonia with 600 lb. depth charges fired at depths varying from 150 to 600 ft. produced disappointing results, and these observations led to the detailed examination of this method.

1.31 The second method has been considered theoretically by Penny (l) (Appendix II), and Kirkwood (2). Restricted experimental work (3, 4, 5, 6, 7) has been carried out in the United Kingdom and United States of America. Further experimental work upon this method of wave generation is discussed in this report and many hitherto obscure points have been in part clarified. The critical discussion of the New Zealand work in (7) was based upon rough exploratory experiments, and is therefore no longer applicable.

1.32 “./hen a charge is fired at a considerable depth a gas bubble is formed which expands beyond an equilibrium condition (3, 3), and given sufficient depth it will contract again beyond a second equilibrium condition. For great depths it will expand again and the cycle will be repeated successively until the bubble breaks through the water surface. Just prior to breaking the surface (venting) a dome is formed and the water thus elevated brings about the initial development of the surface wave system. After venting a cavity is formed which upon collapse gives rise to the second phase of the wave system. At considerable distances from the source of the two phases, a wave group is formed. Theoretically (1) where the depth of the charge is just equal to the radius of the bubble produced, the wave amplitudes reach their maximum values. Experimentally the ratio of charge depth to maximum bubble radius accompanied by maximum wave amplitudes is approximately O.65 (5). The charge depth for this condition has been termed the critical depth; but, because of the existence of another critical charge position nearer the surface, this will be known in what follows as the lower critical depth, as distinct from the second or upper critical depth. This second depth has not been mentioned in available references. The transfer of explosive energy to wave energy in the case of charges fired at the lower critical depth is less than in the case where similar charges are fired at the upper critical depth.

1.4 The third method has been examined in Japan (9,10), where it was believed that tsunami 8tidal waves created by seismic disturbances) have their origin in submerged rock displacements, such as slips. At the Earthquake Research Institute, Tokyo Imperial University, during 1933 small scale experiments were carried out in which waves were generated by the movement of a piston at the bottom of a Shallow tank. These waves possessed characteristics similar to those often experienced during or oust after earthquakes.

1.5 In the following discussion a number of basic ideas are ^resented with the view of rationalizing the analysis of the experimental results. During the early stages of the investigation attempts were made to extend the analytical studies of Cauchy and Foisson (ll), to explain the exploratory observations without success. The theoretical treatments of Penny (1), Kirkwood (2) and Taylor (3) likewise fail to explain the behavior resulting from charges located at the upper critical depth. Because of these limitations, and the necessity of obtaining data, which at the time could be rapidly used for operational planning, an empirical analysis of the problem was undertaken.

1.52 Scaling laws have been attempted (l, 2, 5, 7) upon the assumption that the efficiency of energy transfer from explosive to wave energy was constant. The evidence available shows this to be incorrect. Accordingly a different approach has been made wherein approximations based upon experimental observations have been adopted.

1.61, In order to gain some appreciation of the mechanism of wave generation by surface impact two series of experiments were carried out (13). The first series was conducted in a glass sided channel into which masses of rectangular form were dropped from varying heights. The second comprised observations of wave characteristics when masses were dropped into a pool. Prom these several important features productive of waves were noted.

1.62 Early thoughts upon possible methods of offensive inundation placed emphasis upon means for transporting and maneuvering large quantities of explosive. In this way the association of charges with rafts developed, and much of the experimental work involved charges supported by rafts. Further, the use of multiple charges located according to definite geometrical patterns originated in the qualitative study of ripples produced by gangs of electric sparks in a tank.


2.1 The energy per unit length of a single trochoidal wave of oscillation in deep water is given” by (12):


w is the specific weight of the water

H is the wave height from trough to crest

is the wave length

A summary of the available experimental results shows the greatest useful values of vary from 0.048 to 0.054. Hence for the wave systems considered in this investigation the following relationship of sinusoidal waves will give results accurate to within 1½ percent.

There is little doubt that this tsunami weapon was further developed and refined over the ensuing decades, though all documents related to current developments of the project are almost certainly still classified.

Though it may seem far-fetched to imagine military involvement, these documents and reports raise serious questions about the recent tsunami in Japan and the December 26, 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.

The many layers of intense secrecy both in the government and military result in very few people being aware of the gruesome capabilities for death and destruction that have been developed over the years.

Were it not for the below article in New Zealand’s leading newspaper, the public would never have known that a tsunami bomb had been created many decades ago. No one denies that highly destructive weapons are being developed in secret by the militaries of the world. What the public doesn’t know is what these weapons are, and what they are being used for.

All of this is generally classified for reasons of “national security.”

Sadly, the rubric of “national security” has all too often been used for secret political and economic gains which clearly do not benefit the public. Operation Northwoods, uncovered by ABC News in the year 2000, showed that the top Pentagon generals were willing to foment terrorism and sacrifice innocent civilians in order to provoke a war with Cuba in the early 1960s.

Credible researchers into the government’s HAARP program are convinced that this technology which manipulates our ionosphere is being used for military means and can even play a role in natural disasters like earthquakes. Because of this, we have to ask the hard questions.

It is unprecedented in recorded history for two major tidal waves to occur less than seven years apart.

See brief descriptions of the 10 most destructive tsunamis in recorded history.

For some intriguing theories on what might have caused the Japanese earthquake (including one which predicted the date), see “Six Primary Theories Circulating The Internet as to The Cause of The Japan Earthquake”.

Few people are aware of the secret societies composed of some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people. Many researchers, including myself, suspect that factions of the power elite want to keep us in fear and even to promote a 2012 Armageddon scenario for their own benefit.

In order to avoid further unnecessary wars and destruction, let us all educate ourselves on these important matters and work towards greater transparency and cooperation between all good people who share our world.

Tsunami Bomb

New Zealand’s Devastating War Secret
by Eugene Bingham

from NZHerald Website

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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