Sunday, July 18, 2010

Orphan Knoll Dive 1 : Orphan Seamount

The Orphan Seamount, found 620 Km east of St. John’s, NL, is a 2000m tall submarine feature that starts at a depth of 4500m.

Even though the Orphan Seamount has never been explored or studied, the shape and relation to Orphan Knoll suggests that it is probably a volcanic seamount.

In 2001 the USCG Healy collected high resolution multibeam imagery of the Orphan seamount and the SE ridge of the Orphan Knoll.

The CCGS Hudson and CSSF ROPOS are being used to collect biological, geological and seismic data on the Orphan seamount.

The dive plan for the Orphan Seamount will start on the NE side of the seamount and finish on the top of the seamount. The dive site and the dive plan is shown in the images below.

Seamounts near Newfoundland and Labrador have not been studied with the aid of remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) before. The CSSF ROPOS is an ROV that can reach depths of ~5000m below sea level. The current floatation package installed allows ROPOS pilots to dive 3000m below sea level.

Seamount’s in other areas of the world have shown to be hotspots of biodiversity for many different types of invertebrates, including cold-water corals and sponges.

These invertebrates are living on unique and sometimes hostile substrate (e.g. hydro-thermal vents, black smokers, etc.).

The geological constitution and origin of this seamount coupled with unknown deep-sea biological fauna make exploring the Orphan Seamount an exciting adventure!

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