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article imageThe hidden military fortress found underneath Alcatraz

By Mike White     Feb 27, 2014 in Crime
Researchers have found a hidden military fortress, thought to have been destroyed previously, beneath the former Alcatraz Prison, where notable prisoners, such as Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly and Mickey Cohen were once imprisoned.
BBC reported the former prison has a million visitors a year. From the 1930s to the 1960s, the prison held the "worst of the worst" criminals.
According to scientists, there is more history to "the Rock" than just crime and punishment. Researchers from Texas A & M have gone to Alcatraz to learn more about the hidden history beneath the prison walls.
The famous prisoners in the institution were incarcerated for much of their time at Alcatraz in tiny cells.
In the area where inmates spent as little as one hour a week outside their cells, the scientists have gathered in the prison's recreation yard. The scientists are slowly dragging a bright yellow cart along the ground in straight lines.
"That's ground-penetrating radar," according to professor Mark Everett.
"The cart has a transmitter and a receiver - it sends an electromagnetic wave into the ground that then reflects off all the different structures underneath.
"Much like medical imaging would make a scan of the body, we are making a scan of the ground under the rec yard."
By using the technology, the team has found a military fortress from the 1800s, which experts had believed was destroyed.
There are still 20-foot walls in the middle of the yard. Professor Everett pointed out a spot where there is evidence of a subterranean tunnel system.
"(The tunnels) would have been used for the fortifications," Everett explained. He noted the fortress would have been covered with earth and bomb proof.
He noted there was "not only a tunnel, but magazine buildings too."
Soldiers on Alcatraz reportedly were not involved in much military action. In 1903 it was transformed into a military prison.
The ground-penetrating radar has discovered traces of the fortress, even though much evidence has disappeared.
"I think most people know that in 1848 gold was discovered in California, and before that time San Francisco was really a very small town," Jason Hagin, the historical architect for the National Park Service, explained. The park service is in charge of the island.
Fox News reported Alcatraz is on San Fransisco Bay Island. When gold was discovered, it was transformed into a line of defense during the Civil War.
Although no shots were fired at Alcatraz during the Civil War, confederate sympathizers were imprisoned there, after they denounced the federal government.
According to aol.com, the fortress was destroyed in 1915.
More about Alcatraz, Mythbusters, San Francisco
 
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