Deep Sea Exploration, Mapping and Characterization


Deep sea areas support unique ecosystems and are sources for energy and minerals. Exploring and mapping the oceans will help us fill gaps to better understand planetary-scale processes including tectonics and marine hazards; energy, mineral and biological resources; and other large-scale Earth systems. Improved knowledge of the deep sea will help us sustainably manage and use ocean resources.


Date published: August 27, 2021

Exploring the Unknown in the Deep North Atlantic Ocean

Learning more about international waters, or the "high seas," and other unexplored deepwater areas through exploration is critical to ensuring they are collectively and sustainably managed for the good of the planet.

Date published: July 14, 2021

2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones Expedition

At 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Wednesday, July 14, you are invited to join a live event introducing the 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones: New England and Corner Rise Seamounts expedition.

Date published: June 5, 2020

Critical Minerals in the EEZ

For centuries, people have crossed oceans in search of valuable minerals. In recent times, though, increasing attention has been paid to the oceans themselves for their mineral potential, especially rock formations on the seafloor. 


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Year Published: 2021

Extent of impact of deep-sea nodule mining midwater plumes is influenced by sediment loading, turbulence and thresholds

Deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining research activity has substantially increased in recent years, but the expected level of environmental impact is still being established. One environmental concern is the discharge of a sediment plume into the midwater column. We performed a dedicated field study using sediment from the Clarion Clipperton...

Munoz-Royo, Carlos; Peacock, Thomas; Alford, Matthew; Smith, Jerome; Le Boyer, Arnaud; Kulkarni, Chinmay; Lermusiaux, Pierre; Haley, Patrick; Mirabito, C; Wang, Dayang; Adams, Eric; Ouillon, Raphael; Breugem, Alexander; Decrop, Boudewijn; Lanckreit, Thijs; Supekar, Rohit; Rzeznik, Andrew; Gartman, Amy; Se-Jong Ju

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Year Published: 2021

Multiple melt source origin of the Line Islands (Pacific Ocean)

The Line Islands volcanic chain in the central Pacific Ocean exhibits many characteristics of a hotspot-generated seamount chain; however, the lack of a predictable age progression has stymied previous models for the origin of this feature. We combined plate-tectonic reconstructions with seamount age dates and available geochemistry to develop a...

Pockalny, Robert; Barth, Ginger; Eakins, Barry; Kelley, Katherine A.; Wertman, Christina

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Year Published: 2021

Timing of iceberg scours and massive ice-rafting events in the subtropical North Atlantic

High resolution seafloor mapping shows extraordinary evidence that massive (>300 m thick) icebergs once drifted >5,000 km south along the eastern United States, with >700 iceberg scours now identified south of Cape Hatteras. Here we report on sediment cores collected from several buried scours that show multiple plow marks align with...

Condron, Alan; Hill, Jenna C.