By Kelley Elliott, Expedition Manager, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
April 20 – July 10, 2016
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 (pdf, 1.9 MB) about the expedition.
The essays below will help you to understand the goals and objectives of the mission and provide additional context and information about the places being explored and the science, tools, and technologies being used.
April 20 – July 10, 2016 | By Kelley Elliott and Kasey Cantwell
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.Read more
By Michael S. Trianni
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.Read more
By Bill Chadwick and Patty Fryer
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.Read more
By Heidi Hirsh
The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument was established in January 2009 through a presidential proclamation under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906.Read more
By Diva Amon and Deborah Glickson
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.Read more
By Steve Hammond
NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) has sponsored eight expeditions to the Mariana Arc region between 2003 and 2015.Read more
By Christopher Kelley and Diva Amon
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.Read more