2018 Exploration of Strange "Off-Ridge" Seamounts in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
July 16, 2020
Dr. Christopher Kelley, University of Hawaii
Join Dr. Christopher Kelley as he discusses the 2018 Exploration Vessel Nautilus expedition to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument where they explored 10 unusual seamounts located north of the Hawaiian Ridge. The origin of these seamounts is enigmatic since they form a line parallel to, but well north of the islands, atolls, banks, and seamounts created when the Pacific Plate moved over the Hawaiian hotspot. Figuring out how and when they formed, as well as what sea creatures live there were the objectives of the project. Both multibeam mapping and ROV dives were conducted during the cruise that yielded high resolution images of the seamounts, rock samples for Ar/Ar dating and chemical analyses, biological specimens of potential new species, and high resolution video of their geology and biological communities. An update on the process of analyzing these samples/specimens and video will be provided, as well as a preview of a follow up cruise by the Nautilus currently being planned for 2021.