Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 03 – 10 October 2022
Source: Honolulu Civil Beat
Author: Stewart Yerton
Critics fear rules for opening a swath of ocean bed between Mexico and Hawaii won’t protect “the most pristine wilderness on the planet.”
Deep on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, amidst one of earth’s greatest unexploited reserves of valuable minerals, are ecosystems of otherworldly creatures.
There are fast-moving sea urchins; anemones that perch like flowers atop long sponge stalks; translucent, tentacled sea cucumbers that look like something from Pokemon, and yellow gelatinous critters that University of Hawaii oceanographers have nicknamed “Gummy Squirrels.”
** Please note: the DSCC is of the view that deep-seabed mining is neither imminent or necessary, as may be implied by the author of the article below. **
Source: The Economist
Diva Amon, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, spotted her first whale skull in 2013, during an expedition to the Clarion Clipperton Zone (ccz) in the tropical Pacific. It sat on beige silt, some 4,000 metres beneath the sea’s surface, and was entirely covered in a black coating. Her find was twice notable. First, the skull’s coating meant it was millions of years old, for it was made of the same slowly accumulating metallic oxides as the potato-like ore nodules that are drawing miners to the area. Second, the discovery highlighted how little is known about the deep ocean. Dr Amon’s whale skull, and others like it, raise questions about the trade-offs between the economic gains of mining the seabed and that mining’s environmental consequences.
Author: Erik Vance
Imagine sinking into the deepest parts of the Central Pacific Ocean, somewhere between Mexico and Hawaii. Watch as the water turns from clear to blue to dark blue to black. And then continue on for 15,000 feet to the seafloor — roughly the distance from the peak of California’s Mount Whitney to the bottom of nearby Death Valley.
Source: the Guardian
Author: Carol J Clouse
Each of the three mining machines outweighs the 200-ton blue whale – the largest animal the world has ever known – and they look fearsome, especially the bulk-cutter designed to grind up the ocean floor with its enormous roller, covered in spikes.
- Using a Remotely Operated Vehicle, researchers identified more than 6,000 individuals belonging to over 170 tentative species in a small part of their study site in the eastern portion of the CCZ.
- Many of these species are rare or new to science, the team found.
- The study’s preliminary results also found that the polymetallic nodules have the highest diversity of megafuana, suggesting that mining could be disastrous for the deep-sea marine species in the CCZ.
Source: Mail Online
Author: Shivali Best
A vast area of seabed targeted for deep sea mining is home to species previously unknown to man, a study warned.
Source: Huff Post Green
Author: Sophie Cocke
HONOLULU — Last summer, a team of Japanese scientists boarded the University of Hawaii’s Kaimikai O Kanaloa, a 223-foot, high-tech research ship docked in Honolulu Harbor, and headed out to sea. Their mission was to explore whether they will be able to tap into billions of dollars worth of coveted minerals that are believed to sit 5,000 meters beneath the sea in an area that runs from about 500 miles southeast of Hawaii toward Mexico. Japan is one of more than a dozen countries angling to profit off the vast mineral deposits that span 6 million square kilometers — an area the size of the United States — in what’s known as the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone.