Naval survey ship 'HMS Enterprise' nets stunning images of a Grand Canyon-style ocean floor hidden deep under the Red Sea.
Discovering the 250 metre deep canyon after leaving the Egyptian port of Safaga the ship used her sophisticated EM1002 Multibeam echo sounder to create the 3D images, allowing the ocean floor to be seen for the first time.
Commanding Officer of HMS Enterprise, Commander Derek Rae, said: “These features could be the result of ancient rivers scouring through the rock strata before the Red Sea flooded millennia ago. Some may be far younger – and still in the process of being created by underwater currents driven by the winds and tidal streams as they flow through this area of the Red Sea, carving their way through the soft sediment and being diverted by harder bed rock. Or there is always the possibility that they are a combination of the two.
It is, however, almost certain to say that this is the closest that humans will ever get to gaze upon these truly impressive sights hundreds of metres beneath the surface.
HMS Enterprise will remain in the Middle East until the summer, building on the successes of her sister ship HMS Echo, which discovered numerous wrecks and obstacles during a 19-month deployment to the same region.
As well as helping to update some of the 3,300-plus Admiralty Charts which are used by many of the world’s seafarers (including the Royal Navy), the survey ship will also support the wider international naval effort to prevent piracy and other criminal activities in the Indian Ocean and environs.