This group of very old tubeworms (Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi) lives on the same piece of carbonate rock as large colonies of the gorgonian Callogorgia Americana americana, with brittle stars and a galatheid crab crawling on the gorgonians. Click image for larger view and image credit.
Expedition to the Deep Slope
May 7 - June 2, 2006
The Expedition to the Deep Slope is the first systematic exploration of hydrocarbon-seep communities deeper than 1,000 m in the Gulf of Mexico. Funded by the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the leader in supporting the scientific characterization of seep communities in the Gulf of Mexico, and NOAA Ocean Exploration (OE), our diverse team of scientists will be using the research vessel Atlantis and the deep submergence vehicle Alvin to dive on sites never visited before by humans. The team assembled includes scientists who have led the exploration, discovery, and study of the Gulf of Mexico cold seeps for the last 20 years. We have also invited leading international seep scientists from Germany, France, and Austria to complement our expertise. On this cruise, geologists and geochemists will be working alongside microbiologists, physiologists, and ecologists to maximize what can be learned about the deep Gulf of Mexico cold seeps and coral communities.
- The Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) provides about 25% of our domestic natural gas and 30% of our domestic oil.
- 50 percent of leased acreage in the Gulf of Mexico OCS is in deep water (greater than 1,000 feet).
- In May of 2006, a total of 3,900 oil and gas platforms existed in the Gulf of Mexico. They also represent the largest de facto artificial reef system in the world.
- The deepwater OCS accounts for over 60% of the total Gulf of Mexico OCS oil production and 24% of the total Gulf of Mexico OCS natural gas production.
- 3.9 seconds of OCS production would allow a car to travel around Earth at its equator (a distance of about 25,000 miles)
- America uses almost 20 million barrels of oil per day to fuel our automobiles and airplanes, power our factories, and generate the electricity needed to heat and cool our homes.
- Seven of the top 20 oil fields in the U.S. (ranked by liquids proved reserves) are now located in federal deep-water areas.
- The first exploratory well in over 10,000 feet of water has been drilled in the Gulf of Mexico (a world water-depth record).
Updates & Logs
Click images or links below for detailed mission logs and updates.