Unknown Waters: A Firsthand Account of the Historic Under-ice Survey of the Siberian Continental Shelf by USS "Queenfish" (SSN-651)

Unknown Waters: A Firsthand Account of the Historic Under-ice Survey of the Siberian Continental Shelf by USS "Queenfish" (SSN-651)


By (author) Alfred Scott McLaren, Foreword by William R. Anderson

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  • Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
  • Format: Hardback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 239mm x 28mm | 590g
  • Publication date: 15 March 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Alabama
  • ISBN 10: 0817316027
  • ISBN 13: 9780817316020
  • Edition: 1
  • Edition statement: Revised and.
  • Illustrations note: 58 illustrations, 12 maps
  • Sales rank: 1,052,200

Product description

This title tells about charting the Siberian continental shelf during the height of the Cold War.This book tells the story of the brave officers and crew of the nuclear submarine USS Queenfish (SSN-651), who made the first survey of the remote and important Arctic Ocean region. The unpredictability of floating sea ice, shallow waters, and possible Soviet discovery, all play a dramatic part in this fascinating 1970 voyage.Covering 3,100 miles over a period of some 20 days at a laborious average speed of 6.5 knots, the attack submarine threaded its way through underwater canyons of ice and rolling seafloor, at one point becoming lodged in an "ice garage." Only cool thinking and skillful maneuvering of the nearly 5,000-ton vessel dislodged it. The second phase of the journey began 240 nautical miles beyond the North Pole with a detailed survey of the Siberian shelf, working back to the Bering Strait through the Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi seas.The skipper of the Queenfish had been trained and selected by Admiral Hyman Rickover and, inspired by this polar experience, McLaren became one of the world's foremost Arctic scientists, studying first at Cambridge University, and obtaining his doctorate in polar studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Author information

Alfred S. McLaren is a retired U.S. Navy Captain, recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit, President Emeritus of the Explorers Club, Chief Pilot of the SAS Aviator submersible, and Director of Submarine Aviation Systems, Oklahoma City. He and his wife reside in Boulder, Colorado. William R. Anderson was skipper of USS Nautilus (SSN-571) during that vessel's 1958 ocean-to-ocean crossing of the Arctic Ocean, the first ship to reach the North Pole. He was subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit by President Eisenhower and, following his retirement from the Navy, elected to the U.S. Congress from Tennessee for four terms. He died in 2007 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Review quote

"This memoir is very engaging....It provides a first-person view of submarine under-ice operations that appears in very few other works." - Gary E. Weir, author of Rising Tide: The Untold Story of the Russian Submarines that Fought the Cold War"