Mountains in the Deep: Exploring the Central Pacific Basin






Background Essays

Mission Plan

Mission Plan

From April 27 – May 19, 2017, NOAA and partners will collect critical baseline information about poorly understood known deepwater areas in the Pacific. The ship will conduct near daily remotely operated vehicle dives in the northern portion of the Cook Islands, with focused work in the vicinity of both the the Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll, and Jarvis Island Units of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

Seamounts of the Deep Central Pacific Basin: A Biological Unknown

Seamounts of the Deep Central Pacific Basin: A Biological Unknown

There are an estimated ~5,200 seamounts in the eastern central Pacific region. These undersea mountains are home to a different community of animals than are found in or on the soft mud. Despite the high number, fewer than 40 seamounts in this region have been explored or scientifically sampled.

Seamounts of the Deep Central Pacific Basin: A Biological Unknown

Volcanoes on the Western Pacific Seafloor

The western Pacific seafloor hosts numerous seamounts rising thousands of meters above the depths of the abyssal plains. These undersea volcanoes, which are often organized into linear chains of anomalously shallow topography, erupted long after the initial formation of the Pacific plate

The Hui Panalāʻau Story of the Equatorial Pacific Islands of Howland, Baker, and Jarvis: 1935–1942

The Hui Panalāʻau Story of the Equatorial Pacific Islands of Howland, Baker, and Jarvis: 1935–1942

From 1935 to 1942, a group of 130 mainly Hawaiian men took on the challenge of living on an uninhabited tropical island for three months at a time. Known as Hui Panalāʻau, or "society of colonists," their contributions and sacrifices allowed the United States to gain ownership of the islands of Howland, Baker, and Jarvis.

Conservation and Research Initiatives at Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef

Conservation and Research Initiatives at Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef

Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef are home to some of the healthiest marine ecosystems in the world. However, they are not free from human disturbances. Learn more about conservation and research efforts in the area, including shipwreck removal and research on global climate change, coral reefs, marine restoration, and invasive species.

Big Ocean: A Network of the World’s Largest Marine Managed Areas

Big Ocean: A Network of the World’s Largest Marine Managed Areas

Large-scale marine protected areas (MPAs) are often hundreds of thousands of square kilometers and located in remote areas, making it difficult to conduct species assessments and monitoring and ensure resources are protected. In 2010, site managers from the world’s largest MPAs launched Big Ocean, a "network of the world’s largest marine managed areas."

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