Dive 03: Beethoven Ridge
September 9, 2017
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Dive 03: Beethoven Ridge

Beethoven's Choral Fantasy refers to "flowers which eternally bloom." After exploring Beethoven Ridge at a depth of 2,525 meters (8,280 feet), scientists are thinking that this line could well be referring to beautiful Anthomastus corals seen during the dive. A variety of life was seen during the dive, from corals and sponges to crinoids and sea stars, all among a variety of geological landforms. Video courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Deep-Sea Symphony: Exploring the Musicians Seamounts. Download (mp4, 35.9 MB)

The Musicians Seamounts are largely unexplored and while small portions of this seamount group have been previously mapped during transits, the resolution of the existing data is often too low to plan a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive track. Last night, the onboard mapping team collected higher resolution bathymetric data of Beethoven Ridge and the surrounding area. This data was reviewed by the science leads early this morning to finalize today’s dive track.

ROV Deep Discoverer reached the seafloor of Beethoven’s Ridge at a depth 2,525 meters (8,280 feet). Throughout the dive, the team observed a variety of geological features and a large high-density coral and sponge community. Geological observations included a talus field, which is a bunch of broken rocks of various sizes with sediment in between; dramatic lava flow outcrops; pillow lavas; and lobate lava. Biological observations included a variety of corals (many Anthomastus sp.), glass sponges, crinoids, an arrowtooth eel, a comb jelly, a sea toad, sea stars and brittle stars, sea pens, and more! We also observed several precious corals, which is a particularly interesting find as one observed type is known from the Hawaiian Islands.