2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas




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Mission Introduction

April 20 – July 10, 2016

Kelley Elliott
Expedition Manager
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

From April 20 to July 10, a team of NOAA and external partners who are participating both at-sea and on shore will conduct the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition.

The 69­-day expedition will include three cruise legs to conduct mapping and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations in the deep waters of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

The primary expedition goal is to acquire baseline information in deepwater areas to support science and management needs in and around the Monument and other protected places. Operations will focus on understanding the diversity and distribution of deepwater habitats in and around the CNMI and MTMNM.

In the coming months, we expect to explore bottomfish habitats, new hydrothermal vent sites, mud volcanoes, deep-­sea coral and sponge communities, seamounts, subduction zone areas, and trench areas. All of these exciting features are within the U.S. exclusive economic zone. ROV dives will include high-­resolution visual surveys and limited collections of geological and biological sampling.

We never know exactly what we will find, so tune in to the live feeds to see what we discover next!

 

In Chamorro, the expedition title is: 2016: I Mat'tingan i Mariånas yan i Guinahåña Siha
Listen to the pronunciation

In Carolinian, the expedition title is: 2016 Abwááritá Ówtol Lómwol Matawal Pasifiko Listen to the pronunciation

 

Download a fact sheet about the expedition.

 

Background Essays

Mission Plan

Mission Plan

From April 20 to July 10, 2016, NOAA and partners will conduct a three-cruise expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information of unknown and poorly known areas in and around the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Bottom Fishery in the Mariana Islands

The Bottom Fishery in the Mariana Islands

The cultures of the indigenous inhabitants of Micronesia are characterized by an intimate relationship with the ocean. This seafaring bond is realized most strongly through fishing, an activity which has sustained Micronesian cultures for millennia.

The Geology of the Mariana Convergent Plate Region

The Geology of the Mariana Convergent Plate Region

There are so many exciting geological features within the Mariana region, the area is like an amusement park for geologists. The region has earthquakes, volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and the biggest mud volcanoes on Earth.

The Establishment of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument

The Establishment of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument

The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument was established in January 2009 through a presidential proclamation under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906.

Hydrothermal Vents

Hydrothermal Vents

When most people think of the deep sea around the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, they immediately think “the deepest part of the ocean.” And while the Marianas Trench is amazingly cool, there are other equally awesome habitats within the monument, such as hydrothermal vents.

Office of Ocean Exploration and Research-sponsored Ocean Exploration of the Mariana Arc: 2003 to 2015

Office of Ocean Exploration and Research-sponsored Ocean Exploration of the Mariana Arc: 2003 to 2015

NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) has sponsored eight expeditions to the Mariana Arc region between 2003 and 2015.

Deep-sea Mining Interests and Activities in the Western Pacific

Deep-sea Mining Interests and Activities in the Western Pacific

Commercial deep-sea mining is presently in an exploratory phase, but is certain to occur because of the expected need for minerals that are rapidly being depleted from terrestrial sources.

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