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For other uses, see Archimede.
Not to be confused with Archimedes (disambiguation).
The Archimède in 1961, on launch

The bathyscaphe Archimède is a deep diving research submersible of the French Navy. It used 42,000 US gallons (160,000 l) of hexane as the gasoline buoyancy of its float.[1] It was designed by Pierre Willm and Georges Houot.[2] Archimede was the first vehicle to reach the deepest part of the Atlantic, 27,510 feet (8,390 m) down into the Puerto Rico Trench.[3]

Archimede was christened on 27 July 1961, at the French Navy base of Toulon. It was designed to go beyond 30,000 yards (27,000 m),[4] and weighed 61 tons.[5]

In October 1961, Archimede passed its first dive tests, diving to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) unmanned.[6]

On 27 November 1961, Archimede achieved a speed of 3knots, over a distance of 4.5 miles (7.2 km) at a depth of 7,870 feet (2,400 m) in the Mediterranean.[7]

On 23 May 1962, Archimede descended to 15,744 feet (4,799 m) off Honshu, Japan, in the Pacific, at the Japan Deep.[8]

On 15 July 1962, Archimede descended to 31,350 feet (9,560 m) into the Kurile-Kamchatcha Trench, making it the second deepest dive ever, at that point in time, second only to the Bathyscaphe Trieste dive on the Challenger Deep.[9]

On 12 August 1962, Archimede descended to 30,511 feet (9,300 m) in the Japan Deep south of Tokyo.[10]

Archimede explored the Mid-Atlantic Ridge jointly with the submarine Cyana and submersible DSV Alvin, in Project F.A.M.O.U.S.(French American Mid Ocean Underwater Survey) in 1974.[11][12][13][14]

Archimede operated until the 1970s.[15] As of 2008, it is on operational reserve, at Toulon.[16]

The Archimede was honoured with a stamp in Palau.[17]


  1. ^ Popular Science, "Jeeps in the Deep", Wallace Cloud, August 1964 (accessed 11 September 2010)
  2. ^ Collins, "Exploring the Deep", Andrei Aksyonov, Aleksandr Alekseevich Chernov, 1979, p.118
  3. ^ Popular Mechanics, "The Ocean Adventure", Gardner Soule, September 1966, pp.92 (accessed 11 September 2010)
  4. ^ Dayton Beach Morning Journal, "French Bathyscaphe", Associated Press, 29 July 1961
  5. ^ New York Times, "New French Bathyscaphe to Seek Record Ocean Deep", 29 July 1961
  6. ^ New York Times, "French Bathyscaphe Tested", 30 October 1961
  7. ^ Milwaukee Sentinel, "Bathyscaphe Hits 3 Knots", Associated Press, 28 November 1961, page 2
  8. ^ Baltimore Sun, "French Bathyscaphe Dives To 15,744 Feet", 24 May 1962, pg.A2
  9. ^ Dayton Beach Morning Journal, "Reports Intensive Life Down At 31,350 Level Of Ocean", Associated Press, 16 July 1962, p.3
  10. ^ New York Times, "Bathyscaphe Archimede Descends 30511 Feet", Associated Press, 13 August 1962
  11. ^ Mariner Books, "Ships of Discovery and Exploration", Lincoln P. Paine, 2000, pp.7
  12. ^ New York Times, "3 Craft to Dive Deep in Mid-Atlantic Valley", Walter Sullivan, 21 May 1975
  13. ^ New Scientist, "A cry 'Eureka!' From the Mid-Atlantic Ridge", 7 June 1973, Vol. 58, No. 849 (accessed 11 September 2010)
  14. ^ (French) Encyclopaedia Universalis, "F.A.M.O.U.S. (French American Mid Ocean Underwater Survey)", 2010
  15. ^ University of Washington Press, "Oceanographic History: The Pacific and Beyond", Keith R. Benson, Phillip F. Rehbock, ed.s, 1993, 2002, pp.388
  16. ^ (French) Editions Quae, "Carnet de bord de vingt ans de campagne oceanographiques", Joseph Coic, 2008, pg.16
  17. ^ (accessed 2010 September 11)

See also[edit]