With just five percent of the world's oceans mapped, why concentrate
on this area off the coasts of New York and New Jersey?
Canyon is a pathway from land to sea, extending over 400 nautical miles
seaward from the New York/New Jersey harbor, across the continental
margin, and out to the deep ocean basin extending 300 miles beneath
Dr. Peter Rona, of Rutgers University, chief scientist of the Hudson
River Exploration cruise on the NOAA ship Ron Brown, explains
that Hudson Canyon is especially interesting because it starts in the
immense heart of the world's largest metropolitan area. Submarine canyons
are pathways from land to sea. As silt, sand and mud are carried down
the Hudson River, they flow into canyons and out into the deep sea.
It is even possible that Hudson Canyon is being cut from traveling sediments.
General bathymetry (depth) of the coastal ocean in the New York-New
Jersey metropolitan area provides a framework for future exploration.
Mapping this region teaches us about pathways of sediments and potential
If pollution is draining into Hudson Canyon, where does it
go, what happens to it, and how does it impact ocean life?
A global view of areas where methane hydrates, a promising clean-burning
natural energy source, are believed to reside in near freezing temperatures
within seafloor sediments. During the August 27 to September 15 Hudson Canyon
exploration, scientists searched for evidence of high methane levels that
could be a harbinger of good natural gas energy resources and lead to revelations
of new life forms with potential for important medicinal and industrial
Earthquakes (white dots) are located along the Explorer Ridge in
the northeastern Pacific and surrounding region. This summer an
interdisciplinary team of U.S. and Canadian scientists used new
seafloor mapping systems, and autonomous and remotely operated vehicles
on board the research vessel Thomas G. Thompson to investigate
the birth of new ocean crust off the coast of western North America,
part of the Pacific "Submarine Ring of Fire." Bathymetry (depth)
shows yellow seafloor less than 1000m deep; green 1000-2000m deep;
blue greater than 2000m. The earthquakes occurred between August
1991 and January 2001.
With the Alvin submersible, scientists explored seamounts, or chains
of deep-sea volcanic mountains across the Gulf of Alaska for three weeks
this summer. The first series of high resolution bathymetric (depth) maps
was made of five seamounts. A sixth seamount, mapped previously, was explored
and sampled. Bordered by Alaska's southern coast and Canada's western coast,
the Gulf is home to hundreds of underwater mountains that act as islands
of life in sparsely inhabited depths. Much of the Gulf's immense biological
productivity comes from eddies that transport warm nutrient-rich coastal
Gulf waters from far offshore to cold nutrient-poor waters in the middle
of the Gulf. These nutrients nourish phytoplankton, tiny microscopic plants
that support the marine food chain.
True-color image showing green spiral of eddy in bright blue sea along
south coast of Alaska. Eddies are rotating masses of water that typically
form along the boundaries of ocean currents in water along the south
coast of Alaska.
Credit: SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Flight Center
Sea Grant Fellow
Potter, a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Sea
Grant Fellow at NOAA's Office
of Ocean Exploration, transmitted daily log entries via satellite
phone during a late summer exploration of the frigid depths
of the Arctic Ocean's Canadian Basin. Because of the region's
thick year-round ice cover, this expedition is the first of
Dr. Kathy Crane was NOAA's mission coordinator as an
international team of 50 scientists from the U.S., Canada,
China and Japan examined the hidden world in these extreme
Kathy says she rarely enjoys investigating the same piece
of real estate twice. Along with developing an Arctic Exploration
program at NOAA, she is professor of oceanography at Hunter
College, the City University of New York. In the Arctic she
fine-tuned the art of using ships and tools of many nations.
After graduating from college, Jeremy postponed law school
and took off for Alaska where he worked as an observer in
the Bering Sea crab fishery. A few years later he postponed
graduate school in the marine sciences, jumping on an opportunity
to live and work in a rural Japanese fishing village teaching
English. Beyond work at NOAA, Jeremy's now a Master's student
at the Duke University School of the Environment.