Deepwater Wonders of Wake: Exploring the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

Background Information

Download a fact sheet about the expedition.

  • Mission Plan

    July 27 – August 19  |  By Brian Kennedy

    This image shows the intended operating area for this expedition. The shaded area is the boundary of PRIMNM and the multi-color lines are bathymetry collected by via NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer earlier this year.

    From July 27 through August 19, 2016, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will explore largely uncharted deep-sea ecosystems and seafloor in and around the Wake Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

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  • A Casualty of the Pacific War: The Destruction of IJN destroyer Hayate on December 11, 1941

    By Anthony Tully

    IJN destroyer Hayate.

    Like the other Japanese invasion operations that were to take place simultaneously with or just after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1944, the invasion and capture of Wake Island had been laid out in advance, and its forces already allocated.

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  • Wake Island and Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Management

    By Heidi Hirsh and Kristen Rex

    Bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) at Wake Atoll, the largest known population of this species in the world.

    Wake Island and the surrounding waters are part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which lies to the south and west of Hawaiʻi. The Monument is among the largest marine protected areas in the world and represents the most widespread collection of marine life that is under a single country's jurisdiction on the planet.

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  • Identifying Deepwater Historic Wreck Sites using Multibeam Sonar Data

    By Gary Fabian and Christopher Kelley

    Side scan sonar image of an F6F Hellcat fighter plane (lower right) off Pearl Harbor, Oahu.

    Identifying targets in deep water typically requires the use of two types of sonar systems. First, a hull-mounted multibeam sonar is used to survey the search area in order to create an overall image of the topography and substrate present, usually at 5 to 50-meter resolution. Once completed, this data can be used to design a higher-resolution survey using side scan sonar.

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  • Guyots: Intriguing Flat-topped Seamounts that Host a Diversity of Habitats for Deepwater Animals

    By Christopher Kelley and Scott France

    Large bamboo coral colonies on a guyot ridge.

    Of all of the seamounts in the Pacific, guyots have the most varied geology and therefore the most varied habitats for animals to live.

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  • Geologic Overview of the West Pacific

    By Jasper Konter

    A pillow mound composed of glassy pillow lavas.

    The West Pacific Ocean is underlain by some of the oldest seafloor in the world, and it hosts a large number of submarine volcanoes, referred to as seamounts. These seamounts are typically formed by small extents of melting in the Earth’s mantle, which may occur in several different geologic settings.

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  • Deep-sea Mining Interests and Activities in the Western Pacific

    By Christopher Kelley

    Pacific Prime Crust Zone (PCZ) boundary (green) shown in comparison to the U.S. Pacific monuments (pink) and U.S. EEZ boundaries (black). The PCZ extends from the Hawaiian Islands in the east to the border of the Mariana Trench in the west.

    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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