Phil Vandenbossche & Nelson Kuna/CSIRO
Sonar scans of the Indian Ocean floor south of Christmas Island have revealed a Tolkeinesque landscape of towering peaks, ashen uplands and ominous volcanic craters.
Tharp with an undersea map at her desk. Rolled sonar profiles of the ocean floor are on the shelf behind her.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the estate of Marie Tharp
Born on July 30, 1920, geologist and cartographer Tharp changed scientific thinking about what lay at the bottom of the ocean – not a featureless flat, but rugged and varied terrain.
The remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer captures images of a newly discovered hydrothermal vent field in the western Pacific.
In some places, the ocean is almost 7 miles deep. Scientists exploring the ocean floor have found strange sea creatures, bizarre geologic formations and records of Earth’s history.
Deep-sea mining could open a new industrial frontier in the world’s oceans.
Companies are developing technologies to mine the deep sea, but environmental regulations have yet to be finalized.
Angler fish haunt the deep seas.
The pressure in the deepest part of the ocean can be 1,000 times greater than the pressure we experience at sea level – but creatures that live and visit there have some very special features.
The submersible Alvin about 8,500 feet down, studying seafloor volcanoes and eruptions.
(c) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with thanks to Daniel Fornari – WHOI-MISO Facility (www.whoi.edu/miso) and National Science Foundation
When you study volcanoes at mid-ocean ridges, doing fieldwork means becoming an aquanaut – diving thousands of feet to the ocean floor in the submersible Alvin, trading tight quarters for amazing views.
Deep sea corals off Florida.
A massive new discovery this summer of miles of corals in deep waters off South Carolina shows how much we have yet to learn about life on the ocean floor.
Nightvision, ejectable stomachs and regrowable arms mean starfish are more than meets the eye.
The Byron Scar, left behind by an undersea landslide. Colours indicate depths.
The ocean floor off Australia’s east coast bears the scars of numerous subsea landslides, which have potentially triggered tsunamis over the past several millennia.
Fossilised brittle stars found in Western Australia provide clues about evolution of life underwater.
Australia was a different place 275 million years ago - wild storms surged through icy seas, and marine animals lived a tenuous existence. But brittle stars had a survival strategy.
The famous “faceless fish”, which garnered worldwide headlines when it was collected by the expedition.
Surveying the bottom of the ocean turns out to be far from easy. But there was something wonderful about seeing animals we have only read about in old books.
Ocean sediments in South Africa provide evidence of climate variation going back 270,000 years.
Marine sediments provide evidence of climate variability in South Africa going back 270,000 years. These changes correspond with changes in the archaeological record of the country.