Scientists explore deep sea landscape off the west of Ireland

Date: June 8, 2018

Source: The Irish Times

Author: Lorna Siggins

A deep sea mountain landscape marked by “catastrophic” rock avalanches and giant boulder fields has been mapped by an international team of scientists on the State’s research ship RV Celtic Explorer.

Film footage of “sponge gardens” and a skate “nursery” with fish eggs laid at almost 2,000m has also been recorded by the team in an area of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, west of Ireland.

The Tosca expedition involved 13 scientists from nine institutions and five different countries including Ireland, Britain, GermanyCanada and Greece returns to Galway on Friday – World Ocean Day.

The Marine Institute ship deployed the remotely operated vehicle Holland 1 to explore three mountain ranges on the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture zone during the 3½ week expedition.

First investigated in 1966 and named after the US Coast Guard weather station Charlie, the tectonic spreading comprises two parallel fracture zones or “interruptions” of the mid-Atlantic ridge which is estimated to have grown over a 90 million year period.

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