Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alien Environment Observed in Deep Water of Flemish Cap

The purpose of today's dive was to observe and catalogue the deep-sea creatures in an environment which has never been impacted by trawling or any other human induced mechanical disruption. By reaching 2969 m this dive tested ROPOS's limitations. In fact, this is the greatest depth that this ROV has achieved in its current configuration.

The bottom in this area was punctuated with large basalt outcrops (possibly of jurrasic origins?) covered in deep-sea species largely unknown or rarely observed by experienced taxonomists on board the ship. Many collections were made during the dive including, hard corals, branching corals, crinoids and many unique and unidentifiable sponge species. For images of some of the creatures collected during this dive please click here (FCP2).

Our next dive occurs in an area dominated by large cliff-like outcrops which are of interest to both our biologists and geologists alike (right). This dive will start in water 2200 m deep and run parallel with the base of these prominant features for about 1/2 a nautical mile before heading up-slope and then heading in the opposite direction along the crest of the cliff in the opposite direction. It is hoped that this dive will be completed in about 20 hrs and will finish in water depth of ~1000 m.

A 3D representation of the dive is provided below.

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