High-powered Lasers Have Uncovered A Military Facility Hidden Just Below The Surface Of Alcatraz

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Image: Survey HABS CA-1792 via Library Of Congress

Timothy de Smet and his team of archaeologists from Binghamton University are using hi-tech equipment on a fascinating project. Using non-destructive methods, they’re exploring the ground beneath the former exercise yard at the notorious Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. And what their investigations ultimately reveal comes as a complete surprise…

Image: Frank Schulenburg

We’ll return to de Smet and the finds that he made, but first let’s find out more about Alcatraz. The island itself is located in the waters of the bay of San Francisco and sits just over a mile from the Californian city. It’s basically a rocky outcrop measuring just over 1,700 feet long and 580 feet at its widest point.

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Image: 8056626

In addition, Alcatraz – which is sprawled over 22 acres of land – boasts two high points: one rising to 135 feet from the surface of the bay and the other reaching 138 feet. And a Spaniard, Juan Manuel de Ayala, gave the first written account of the island in 1775. He called it La Isla de los Alcatraces, or the Island of the Pelicans, although some sources suggest that the last word should be translated as “gannets” instead. In any case, the name by which we know the island today has been derived from de Ayala’s writings.

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