What really caused the ROKS Cheonan warship sinking?

03 Oct 2017

This paper is concerned with the sinking of the Korean naval warship (ROKS Cheonan) and the reported spectra of the seismic signals recorded at the time of the incident. The spectra of seismic signals show prominently amplitude peaks at around 8.5 Hz and its harmonics. These frequencies were explained with the vibrations of a water column due to an underwater explosion. This explanation is highly doubtful and concerns about its validity have already been raised in the scientific community. In this work an alternative explanation is presented: it is shown that the recorded seismic spectra are consistent with the natural frequencies of vibrations of a large submarine with a length of around 113 m. This finding raises the possibility that the ROKS Cheonan sunk because of the collision with a large submarine rather than the explosion of a torpedo or an underwater mine.