Uncharted Red Sea Underwater Mountain Discovered

Press Release
Monday, July 16, 2012
Multi-beam Echo Sounder Image: Photo credit UK MOD

British survey ship 'HMS Echo' discovers a previously uncharted underwater 'mountain' on the bed of the Red Sea the size of the rock of Gibraltar

The hi-tech sonar suites of the Devonport-based survey ship mapped the huge feature for the first time, and it will now be marked on the charts.

Echo was sent east of Suez at the beginning of last year to help improve charts of the region's waters and gather key hydrographic data.

Discovering the enormous mound – the correct term is 'sea mount' is quite literally the biggest success of Echo's deployment.

Yemeni fishermen evidently knew the mount existed – Echo found a dhow anchored on its summit as she carried out her survey of the area. Existing charts of the area suggested the sea was 385m (1,263 feet) deep, but over an eight-hour period Echo collected reams of information with her sounders to prove otherwise.

24 hours later, after processing all that information, the survey ship's powerful computers produced stunning 3D imagery which revealed the true extent of the mount which rises to just 40m (131ft) below the surface of the Red Sea – deeper than the deepest draught of any civilian or military surface ship, but a definite danger to submarines passing between the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

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