2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas

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June 2: Reddit “Ask Us Anything”

Science AMA Series: We’re scientists using sonar technology to map the seafloor and water column from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. From May 20 - June 11, the ship will be mapping previously unexplored areas of the Pacific. Ask Us Anything!

Multibeam sonar bathymetry collected by the Okeanos Explorer of the largest seamount in the Wake Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

Meet Elizabeth (Meme) Lobecker, Mashkoor Malik, Lindsay McKenna, and Derek Sowers – scientists from NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research Mapping Team. They operate the mapping systems on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect high-resolution data about the ocean environment. From May 29 - June 11, the ship is mapping north of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, collecting baseline data that will help for planning future management and exploration efforts — including those taking place as part of the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition.

The Okeanos Explorer is equipped with a multibeam sonar; sub-bottom profiler; Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP); and single-beam sonars. These tools allow us to develop detailed maps of the seafloor and of the water column, down to 6,000 meters depth.

Detailed seafloor maps are essential for exploration and baseline characterization of the ocean environment. Although recent advances in satellite altimetry have led to improved worldwide bathymetric maps, their resolution is often not fine enough for research and exploration purposes. Hull-mounted shipboard sonars, such as those on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, remain the industry standard for efficient and effective high-resolution seafloor mapping.

Each field season, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research uses NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to conduct several mapping expeditions, opening the door to new discoveries, insights, and knowledge of previously unknown areas. Since 2008, the mapping team has mapped more than one million square kilometers of the seafloor.

The Mapping Team will be available on Reddit on June 2 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET to answer your questions about NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer’s mapping capabilities or seafloor mapping in general…Ask Them Anything!

When: June 2, 2:00 pm ET to 4:00 pm ET
Where: Reddit Science AMA Series


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