After 150 years scientists reveal hull of the 1st submarine in history to sink enemy warship

  • Confederate Submarine-1.jpg

    Conservator Virginie Ternisien works at removing the encrustation from the hull of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley at a conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C., on Jan. 27, 2015. Scientists say that after six months of work, about 70 percent of the encrusted sand, silt and rust from the outside of the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship has been removed. Scientists hope that when the entire hull is revealed, it will provide the clues as to why the Hunley sank after sinking a Union blockade ship off Charleston, S.C., in 1864. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith) (The Associated Press)

Fifteen years after the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was recovered off the South Carolina coast, scientists are finally getting a good look at the hull of the first sub that ever sank an enemy warship.

The Hunley was raised in 2000 with its hull encrusted in hardened sand, silt and rust. Now, after six months of work at a lab in North Charleston, about 70 percent of the gunk on the outside of the hull has been removed.

Conservators say that cleaning the hull should help finally solve the mystery of why the Hunley sank back in 1864 after sinking the Union blockade ship Housatonic.

Senior conservator Paul Mardikian (mahr DEE kee in) says the work has revealed clues but researchers are not ready to discuss them yet.

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