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Beach erosion from Tropical Storm Eta unearthed remnants of an 1800s shipwreck in Florida

November 22, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

After Tropical Storm Eta swept across northern Florida earlier this month, a beachgoer made a discovery while walking on the shore in St. Augustine.

(CNN)After Tropical Storm Eta swept across northern Florida earlier this month, a beachgoer made a discovery while walking on the shore in St. Augustine.

What Mark O'Donoghue spotted peeking through the sand dunes of Crescent Beach were timbers likely belonging to a shipwreck dating back to the 1800s, according to a news release from the St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program.

The program is the work of a team of researchers who have helped to identify several shipwrecks discovered in the area.

Hurricane Eta, the 28th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, left a trail of destruction that spanned several countries early this month when the storm made four separate landfalls.

Eta then moved into the Gulf of Mexico and made its second Florida landfall on November 12, just south of Cedar Key, roughly a 130-mile drive northwest of Tampa.

In St. Augustine, the storm caused extreme high tides with some coastal flooding and beach erosion at Fort Matanzas National Monument, according to the National Park Service.

Over 70% of all known historic shipwrecks lost in Florida are merchant vessels that were moving goods from one port to another along the Atlantic coast, according to the researchers.

"Florida's maritime past is America's story as the nation's oldest port dating back to the Spanish landing in 1565," said Kathy Fleming, executive director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, in the release.

Due to the high cost of excavation, researchers are hoping to preserve the wreckage by getting permission from the state to mark off the area from visitors, according to The St. Augustine Record newspaper.

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