Investigating the Charleston Bump
August 2 16, 2003
Off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia exists a unique feature called the Charleston Bump, which rises off the surrounding Blake Plateau from 2,000 ft deep to a depth of about 1,200 ft. The rocky, erosion-resistant Charleston Bump impedes the flow of the Gulf Stream, deflecting it offshore and creating a zone of gyrating eddies and swift, narrow currents. The combination of rocky, high-relief bottom and strong currents creates a complex habitat consisting of scour depressions, mounds of deep-water corals and rubble, and steep scarps that are deeply undercut with extensive caves.
During this exploration, researchers investigated how fishes and invertebrates adapt to the variety of bottom habitats, and how they tolerate the strong and shifting currents. The investigators also sought new and unique species. Much of the work was conducted using the Johnson-Sea-Link II manned submersible, which was outfitted with digital video, still cameras and other instruments to record information about the surrounding waters. The submersible also collected samples of rocks and sediments, as well as specimens of fishes and invertebrates such as sponges and deep-water corals. Little was known about the creatures that inhabit "the Bump" and the surrounding Blake Plateau, making this a true mission of exploration.
Background information for this exploration can be found on the left side of the page. Daily updates and logs that summarize expedition activities are posted below and to the right.