Exclusive photos show deep-sea canyon in U.S. waters teeming with life

Date: December 10, 2018

Source: National Geographic
Author: Sarah Gibbens

It felt a lot like a moon landing to the researchers who experienced it—descending thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean into complete darkness. Ambient ocean light extends down only about 600 feet. After that, no amount of straining your eyes will help you see through the inky blackness.

Scientist Tim Shank and photographer Luis Lamar were descending into Lydonia canyon, one of several among the canyons and underwater mountains sitting 130 miles from Massachusetts, when they were slowly surrounded by darkness.

Descending thousands of feet can take hours.

When the lights affixed to the underwater submersible carrying the researchers were finally switched on, the world around them looked like a different planet.

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is made of sprawling underwater mountain ranges and vast canyons—the formations spread out for 4,913 square miles. From the surface of the ocean, it’s impossible to see the vibrant Connecticut-size, deep-sea world unless you dive beneath the surface.

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