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Advances in Acoustics and Vibration
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 514346, 10 pages
Research Article

What Really Caused the ROKS Cheonan Warship Sinking?

1Department of Physics, Kyungsung University, Pusan 608-736, Republic of Korea
2Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK

Received 25 May 2014; Revised 8 August 2014; Accepted 27 August 2014; Published 20 November 2014

Academic Editor: Emil Manoach

Copyright © 2014 Hwang Su Kim and Mauro Caresta. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.