The U.S. and New Zealand conducted secret tests of what is being described as a “tsunami bomb,” which experts said was aimed at devastating coastal cities by using a series of underwater explosions that would result in massive tidal waves.
The tests, which were initially carried out around the waters of New Caledonia and Auckland during World War II, “showed that the weapon was feasible,” Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported recently.
The paper said a series of 10 large offshore blasts were enough to potentially create a 3-foot tsunami that would be capable of swallowing a small city along a coastline.
The top-secret operation was code-named “Project Seal,” and it was tested as a possible doomsday rival to nuclear weapons. According to data from the period, about 3,700 bombs were exploded during testing, first in New Caledonia, a French possession about 950 miles north of New Zealand, and then again at Whangaparaoa Peninsula, near Aukland.
If the atomic bomb had not worked as well as it did
Plans for the new weapon came to light during research by Ray Waru, a New Zealand-based author and filmmaker, as he was examining military files buried in the national archives, the Telegraph said.
“Presumably, if the atomic bomb had not worked as well as it did, we might have been tsunami-ing people,” Waru told the paper. “It was absolutely astonishing. First that anyone would come up with the idea of developing a weapon of mass destruction based on a tsunami … and also that New Zealand seems to have successfully developed it to the degree that it might have worked.”
The project was launched in June 1944, the same month as D-Day, the allied invasion of Europe, after E. A. Gibson, a U.S. naval officer, noticed that blasting operations aimed at clearing coral reefs around Pacific islands sometimes produced large waves – which gave him the idea for a tsunami weapon.
Waru said initial testing produced some positive results but the project was eventually halted in early 1945, although New Zealand officials continued producing reports on the testing and experimentation into the 1950s. Experts finally came to the conclusion that single explosions weren’t powerful enough to produce a tsunami that could cause enough damage to a coastal city; they estimated that a successful tsunami bomb would require some 2 million kilograms (about 4.4 million pounds) arrayed in a straight line about five miles from shore.
“If you put it in a James Bond movie it would be viewed as fantasy but it was a real thing,” he said. “I only came across it because they were still vetting the report, so there it was sitting on somebody’s desk [in the archives].”
Forty years later, after the joint testing, New Zealand experienced a dramatic shift in its security ties with the U.S. after Wellington banned entry of nuclear-armed warships into its territory during the 1980s. The decision led the U.S. to downgrade New Zealand from “ally” to “friend.”
Tsunami bombs and UFOs
Waru discovered the existence of the tsunami bomb while researching his new book, “Secrets and Treasures,” according to Agence France Presse.
“It was totally overwhelming at the beginning,” he said.
“I knew I wanted to get in the important things, the Treaty of Waitangi (New Zealand’s founding document), the Declaration of Independence, the women’s suffrage petition, and a few other things,” Waru added. “But once you start digging, one story leads onto another and I’d just follow my nose.”
Among other treasures Waru uncovered: Defense Department records of scores of UFO sightings.
Some of the accounts include drawings of flying saucers, descriptions of aliens wearing “pharaoh masks” and alleged examples of extra-terrestrial writing. New Zealand’s most famous close encounter was when a television crew recorded strange lights off the South Island town of Kaikoura in 1978.
The military later concluded that the lights could be explained as natural phenomena, such as lights from boats being reflected off clouds or an uncommon view of the planet Venus.