The Ocean Exploration Trust’s Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus is heading out into the Pacific Ocean to explore the deep seamount near Johnston Atoll, which is located about 800m/1287km south of Hawaii in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM).
The near-month-long expedition will see ROVs from the (E/V) Nautilus explore the seamounts in the area, which are home to some of the most pristine marine ecosystems on the planet. During the exploration, the ROV will conduct dives as deep as 13,000 feet/4,000 meters, especially considering that the seafloor in the area is virtually unmapped.
Commenting on the expedition, co-lead scientist Dr. Steve Auscavitch stated:
“Despite historic efforts, the area around Johnston Atoll presents us with large knowledge gaps. It’s important to know what is there to better manage and conserve these ecosystems in the future. Our work does not end when we get back to the dock. The specimens and materials we collect will be housed in repositories, and scientists all over the world can use them to make new discoveries for decades to come.”
While the other co-lead scientist Dr. Robert Pockalny added:
“We explore the geology of regions like the Johnston Atoll for several reasons. At the most basic level, we want to characterize the range of geologic features in this largely unexplored region, including rocks’ morphology, geochemistry, and ages. This data will help us interpret the geologic, tectonic, and volcanic history of the region, which helps us understand the most fundamental processes on Earth.”
Discussing the expedition live stream, expedition leader Dwight Coleman stated:
“The telepresence capabilities of E/V Nautilus are not just a great tool to transport public audiences to these remote places, but they also allow us to harness the intellectual capacity of scientists from around the world…Many of the discoveries of E/V Nautilus are facilitated by scientists that are not physically on the ship but join us remotely via telepresence.”
You can learn more and follow the expedition live on various channels here.