Startling Stuff from Deep Sea at Live Oregon Coast Event
Published 12/01/2015 at 4:45 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Newport, Oregon) – Get ready for some startling underwater sights and insights, broadcast live to a special Oregon coast event. (Above: mysterious deep sea fish called a raittail, photo courtesy Jeff Drazen).
On December 12, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport will host a realtime Skype session with the researchers of the R/V Falkor, who are exploring the deepest part of the Earth's oceans: the Mariana trench. The session happens at 1:30 p.m. that Saturday. You can learn more about all this and ask questions of those exploring this startlingly different environment. Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour
The Mariana region, famed for boasting the deepest spot on the planet, is also home to the Mariana subduction system. Scientists aboard the Falkor aim to shed light on the Mariana Back-arc, which is expected to be teeming with activity and life. The team plans to use the Sentry Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), as well as instrument packages consisting of optical and chemical sensors to survey systematically for hydrothermally active areas.
The scientists aboard the California-based R/V Falkor – mostly biologists and geologists – are working to conduct a new study of one of the deepest places in the world. It's one of Earth's true final frontiers. In November, the ship left port to study well beyond the usual limits of 7,000 meters.
They have deployed new full-ocean-depth landers, which are frames encompassing cameras, sensors and devices that collect samples and then return them to the surface automatically. Other kinds of deep ocean lander devices were utilized as well. All of them sent to the depths of Mariana Trench's Sirena Deep, near Guam.
Scientists say there were plenty of surprises, and there will continue to be. As the equipment dives down to almost 11,000 meters, they will get a chance to examine these thoroughly alien zones, including what types of creatures live there and how they manage to survive in such intensely pressurized depths.
Species at these depths are dramatically different. Among the sights may be more fish like the rattail (pictured above), or its deeper-sea relatives. These can live more than 8,000 meters or so down.
The Falkor researchers also hope to further understand earthquakes and tsunamis.
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