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The two-part wreck of the Titanic lies at the bottom of the North Atlantic, slowly decaying nearly 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) below the surface, but it’s not alone. Sonar signals detected about 26 years ago now reveal much more of this underwater region than previously thought.
PH Nargeolet, an experienced Nautile submersible pilot and Titanic diver, first spotted the blip on echo sounding equipment in 1996, but its origins remain unknown.
Watch footage of the first Titanic dive in 14 years (2019)
– Source: CNN
During an expedition to the wreck of the Titanic earlier this year, Nagiolette and four other researchers traveled to the previously recorded location of the blip in search of the mysterious object it represented. Because of the size of the blip, Nargeolet believed he was looking for another wreck—he found a rocky reef made up of various volcanic formations, home to lobsters, deep-sea fish, sponges and several species of coral that may have thousands of species. or years old.
“It’s biologically appealing. The animals that live there are very different from the animals that live in the deep ocean,” said Murray Roberts, professor of applied marine biology and ecology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and a researcher on the expedition. Say. “(Nargeolet) did a very important scientific job. He thought it was a shipwreck, and it turned out to be more amazing than a shipwreck in my opinion.”
According to Roberts, the abyssal plain is a term used to describe the ocean floor at a depth of 3,000 to 4,000 meters (about 12,000 feet), covering 60 percent of the Earth’s surface. It is considered a featureless, muddy seabed without much structure. On several occasions, divers observed rock formations on the plains. Since its recent discovery near the Titanic, Roberts now thinks these features may be more common than previously thought.
The rocky areas may also help explain how far sponges and corals travel across the seafloor, which has long been a mystery to scientists. In the muddy environments where they are usually observed, these species have few hard surfaces to attach to to grow and reproduce.
He found the Titanic.This is his next mission
– Source: CNN
“Sometimes they show up when we think ‘OK, how did they get there? They didn’t live long enough to get there,'” Roberts said. “But if these rocky places, these stepping stones are more than we thought, I think it could help us understand the distribution of these species in the ocean.”
The researchers are currently analyzing coral reef images and videos taken during their dives, and they intend to share their findings to raise the scientific community’s collective understanding of deep-sea life. Roberts also hopes to link the discovery to a broader Atlantic Ecosystems project he leads, called iAtlantic, which will allow for further research and protection of the fragile ecosystems within coral reefs.
There was another sonar signal near the Titanic, which Nagiolette hopes to spot on future expeditions. It was recorded in the same survey he conducted years ago, between the wreck of the Titanic and the newly discovered coral reef – now named Nargeolet-Fanning Ridge after him and Oisín Fanning, mission specialist for the 2022 expedition. Nargeolet expects it to be bigger than this reef.
OceanGate Expeditions and its foundation – which together with Fanning provided financial support for this year’s dives at Nargeolet – will continue their longitudinal research work on the Titanic and surrounding area in 2023.
“The marine life…it’s so beautiful. It’s really unbelievable because I never thought I’d see this in my life,” Nargeolet said. “I’ll be happy to continue watching the Titanic.”
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