First Deep Sea Exploration of the Perth Canyon Begins Today
The first deep-sea exploration of the Perth Canyon, Australia's largest undersea valley, will launch today, Phys.org is reporting. The 12-day expedition is backed by Google billionaire Eric Schmidt and will study the conditions and marine life inside the canyon, which researchers hope will provide new information about the effects of climate change.
A team of researchers from the University of Western Australia led by Professor Malcolm McCulloch will collaborate with researchers from the Western Australia Museum, CSIRO, and the Institute of Marine Sciences in Italy to survey and sample the canyon, which is up to four kilometers (about 2.5 miles) deep and as wide as the Grand Canyon.
The team will use ROVs to identify and gather deep-sea corral, which can live for hundreds of years, to understand how carbon dioxide levels in the ocean have changed over time.
The team will conduct their research aboard the RV Falkor, a research vessel owned by the Schmidt Ocean Institute. The vessel recently explored the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on the globe.
The Perth Canyon is only 60 km (37.2 miles) off the coast of Perth, Western Australia's largest city.
"People have fished it, but no one's actually gone down and had a look at it," Professor McCulloch told Australia's ABC News. "It's so close to Perth, I don't understand why people haven't done it sooner."