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Deep-sea cables

Michael Vecchione Vecchione.Michael at nmnh.si.edu
Mon Jun 7 16:49:49 EST 1999

The US National Museum of Natural History has a section of heavy cable in 
its mollusk collection.  The cable has a large excavation in it and is 
associated with the paratype of the pholad bivalve Martesia funisicola 
Bartsch and Rehder, 1945.  In Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 
104(11):14, the authors stated that the types were "taken from a section of 
electric power cable that crosses Lake Worth, Fla., at West Palm Beach. 
These mollusks, by drilling holes through the lead casing and other 
insulation, occasioned an interruption of current due to blowouts produced 
by seawater reaching the copper wire."  

According to Turner (1955, Johnsonia 3(34):104), M. funisicola = Martesia
striata (Linne, 1758).

Although these were not deep-sea cables, this may be the source of the early
report.  Furthermore, other pholads are known from the deep-sea, to depths
of at least 1000 fathoms.

Mike Vecchione
<Vecchione.Michael at NMNH.SI.EDU>

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