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Deployment: FK141109

Chief Scientist: 
Jeffrey C. Drazen (University of Hawaii at Manoa, SOEST)
Platform Type:
Start Date: 
End Date: 
Mariana Trench adjacent to Guam: approximately 12 45 N and 144 50 E to 11 25 N and 144 25 E

The very deepest reaches of the sea are one of the planet’s last true frontiers. That’s mostly because a lack of support for needed technological advancements and vehicles has severely limited access to depths beyond 7,000 meters. But the situation is finally beginning to change, and SOI is helping push the process forward. In November, the institute collaborated with a group of biologists and geologists working aboard R/V Falkor to conduct a new study of one of the deepest places in the world.

The team deployed SOI's new full-ocean-depth landers—frames equipped with cameras, sensors and sample collection devices that return to the surface automatically after a set time on the seafloor—as well as three other landers, in the Mariana Trench's Sirena Deep, near Guam. The work, at depths down to almost 11,000 meters, will help answer enduring questions about the biology of such alien zones, including who lives there and how they survive the massive pressure. The research should also improve understanding of the processes that control earthquake and tsunami formation, among others geological goals.

Original cruise data are available from the NSF R2R data catalog (Cruise DOI: 10.7284/900733)