Dive 14: Liszt Seamount
September 20, 2017
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Dive 14: The Big Picture

Dive 14 took place at Liszt Seamount between the depth range of about 2,500 to 2,200 meters (8,200 to 7,220 feet). Rock samples collected during the dive will help us to better understand the geologic origin of the seamount and the source for the structural fractures and lava flow evidence observed. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Deep-Sea Symphony: Exploring the Musicians Seamounts. Download (mp4, 24.9 MB)

Today’s dive took place at Liszt Seamount between the depth range of about 2,500 to 2,200 meters (8,200 to 7,220 feet). Remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer (D2) reached the seafloor on a flat sediment plain with small ripples and covered in gravel-sized cobbles with a welcoming white halosaur fish. Large and meter-sized boulders were present, some populated with crinoids, sponges, and sea stars. Smaller and sedimented angular talus and intact pillow flows were also observed. As the slope increased, the substrate was composed of some sort of consolidated or cemented material such as small talus resembling hardpan. The first coral of the dive, a Pluerogorgia militaris, was observed at a depth of 2,527 meters (8,290 feet), as the geology transitioned to a sedimented talus slope with large outcrops, boulders, and intact lava flow. While the area that was surveyed did not support what would generally be defined as a dense coral and sponge community, there were a number of different species of black coral, chrysogorgid coral, primnoid coral, mushroom coral, and glass sponges. Collections of two different stalked crinoids were made, one in the family Hyocrinidae and one in the family Proisocrinidae, both of which may be new to science. Throughout the dive, the team also observed interesting fishes, a number of unusual sea stars, sea cucumbers, a sea spider, an interesting-looking sea urchin, and two unique amphipods. Near the end of the dive, the D2 came upon a well-defined ridge and the team was treated to a stunning view of both sides of the ridge. To the left was a sheer drop off where the most animals were observed, while on the right was a continuous, featureless slope mostly devoid of biologics.