On December 7th, 2016, the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer dove on two Japanese mini-subs that sank 75 years earlier, during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Ward fired the first shot of the Pacific War, sinking this submarine 90 minutes before the air raid on Pearl Harbor. This attack marked the introduction of the United States into World War 2. Highlights from the dives on these submarines can be viewed below:
Completed on July 10th, leg three of the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer‘s EX1605 expedition was chock-full of discoveries. The Okeanos‘s remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) conducted 22 dives, exploring many recently-mapped sites in the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM). They ventured where no ROVs have dove before.
Ship-based sonar mapping, along with ROV imaging and rock sampling, revealed new hydrothermal vent sites, deep-water coral reefs, the first petit-spot volcano found in US waters, and a new mud volcano in the MTMNM.
Amid the geological findings, biologists cataloged many new species. The pictures and videos below highlight some of the newly-discovered inner-space aliens (strange alien-looking creatures) from leg three of the Okeanos Explorer‘s EX1605 expedition.
This cusk eel, found at Unnamed Forearc on June 28th, 2016, was among the first new species discovered during this leg of the expedition.
This ghost-like fish, dubbed “Casper” by land-based scientists, is a species in the fish family Aphonoidae. Until June 30th, 2016, when the ROVs came across Casper, no fish in this family have ever been seen alive.
After a long geology-based dive, the ROVs came upon this undescribed species of Pachycara, commonly called eelpout.
The scientists wished they had enough time to collect this new species of hard sponge that they discovered on July 6, 2016.
But, they were able to collect this new species of stalked glass sponge!
For more ocean exploration and discoveries be sure to check out the Nautilus Live website for updates from the E/V Nautilus! Situated of the California coast, the Nautilus is currently (pun intended) mapping and conducting dives off the Channel Islands.
A shrimp with “armor.” When you’re on the menu, any evolutionary help matters.
The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer continues to research the underwater mysteries of the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a short clip of a brief moment with an unfamiliar face. Not much in the deep sea is an herbivore, almost everything eats and is eaten. Here is a shrimp, taking a moment, possibly to digest a meal just munched. Maybe to sit and admire the bright lights of a strange and enormous creature (the ROV) or possibly to ponder on its recent rise to fame on the Inner Space Center website. Whatever it may be, I say for this shrimp, good luck.
Watch, listen, and enjoy this very short clip of an armored shrimp.
The NOAA science team stumbles upon an underwater salt lake, also known as a “brine pool.”
The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer has been diving its ROV, D2, in the Gulf of Mexico this April. Here is a video clip of one of their awesome encounters in the depths of the Gulf. A brine pool is literally an undersea lake. The contact between salty ocean water and much saltier water (brine), means denser water liquid separates from the less dense ocean water. This saltier fluid sits and “pools” on the bottom. It’s so salty that it will erode the sediment it lies on, forming these pools. If any deep sea dwellers happen to stumble into this pool, they have no chance of getting out (and definitely no lifeguards to help!). It’s a geological anomaly for sure, but it’s a nightmare for any biology living in this normally pitch-black environment. However, those creatures that can acquire some “waterfront” property, while anchoring themselves safely, may reap some serious benefits.
Click play below to listen and learn about these eerily beautiful formations, and the creatures surviving on their deadly coastlines.
The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is in the Gulf of Mexico for the whole month of April. Every discovery they make is being broadcast here to our site, live. Here is one that you may have missed.
The NOAA science team came across some interesting features on the seafloor. No sunlight penetrates 2800 meters below sea level, but organisms have to somehow begin a food chain for energy to survive. How do organisms get that energy, and what does it look like? Watch, listen, and learn as these expert scientists both on board and remotely involved via ISC discuss their findings live.
The Okeanos science team comes across a rocky outcrop, and discovers a huge abundance of animals that are usually around gas seeps or methane seeps.
The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is exploring the Gulf of Mexico for the entire month of April. From the first splash of remotely operated vehicle D2, the discoveries have been truly amazing.
Within a very narrow range of special depths, temperatures and chemical compositions, the conditions can be just right for a spectacular chemical reaction. Once released, methane bubbles from below the seabed can become frozen and suspended in structures of ice. Confused? It’s a tough one to explain. (The video clip will help.) These methane bubbles can be “trapped” in cage-like crystal structures within the ice, called methane hydrate or methane ice. Methane hydrates are very interesting. In the Gulf of Mexico, sites like this are potential sources of highly concentrated energy, naturally occurring thousands of meters below the surface of our ocean. The future for these deeply fascinating areas are unknown. One obvious statement though: they are breathtaking.
Watch below and experience this wonderful discovery with the science team.
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