Hello again from the RV Celtic Explorer. My name is Niamh Connolly and I am a third year Earth Science BSc student in UCC. I am excited to have been given the chance to experience life at sea on board this research vessel and to see what we will find as the research survey continues.
Our ship: the RV Celtic Explorer
It’s great to set sail and get started on our work investigating the seabed and cold-water coral carbonate mounds. The first few days have been calm which really helps you to get used to the movement of the ship and being away offshore for a while. But so far so good! And there is great food on-board which makes life even better!
On the second day at sea, we have travelled about 120 km offshore from Dingle to the Moira Mounds in the Belgica Mound Province, Porcupine Seabight. Here, we used the multibeam echosounder to look at the topography of the seabed and get a better idea of the amount and type of features found on the seafloor that are formed by currents and the transport of sediment and of course find cold-water coral reefs!
As well as the multibeam, the brand new state-of-the-art CHIRP echo sounder on-board, named for the “chirpy-bird” sound it makes, can penetrate into the seabed to show the different types of sediment or structures making up these features. As most of the Earth’s seabed still has to be discovered, there is much of it that we haven’t seen. The CHIRP here was used to look inside a giant cold-water coral carbonate mound. The results are fantastic and have given we think the first ever detailed view of the internal structure of this giant mound which is quite exciting! This would mean we could go back to get more information from these mounds which could reveal more about how they are formed and get a 3D view for more detail of their structure.
Today has been eventful so let’s see what tomorrow holds in store!