Transcript for Oceanfloor Legacy, segment 07 of 14


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In spite of rough seas, the Farnella continues on its regular traverses. The designated areas are mapped with time to spare. The mosaic of the main research area is an image of the inclined continental slope west of San Francisco.

There are several features of note on this mosaic. One I think that stands out right away is this feature right here. This is a submarine canyon. It's like a gully cut into the sea floor. It starts up here on the continental shelf with two heads which merge into one single channel, and it ends here on the basin floor. Other features of note in this area, these are seamounts. These are undersea mountains. They're volcanic rock. The dark parts are the volcanic rock, and the lighter parts are sediment covering the mountaintop. What's also very striking about this particular mosaic is, if you look towards the northern half, you see these darker tones, and the southern half is much lighter. Well, in the northern half this is a very rugged steep terrain with many gullies and submarine canyons and not very much sediment cover. The southern half is a fairly featureless, gently sloping plain. It appears to be a depositional area. It appears to be fairly stable.

The high-resolution mosaics are also useful for locating objects on the sea floor. Harder surfaces like the steel of a ship or a fifty-five gallon drum appear as dark spots called targets by the scientists. These patches of targets might be some of the radioactive waste drums. This nine hundred foot long target may be the U. S. S. Independence which was scuttled after exposure to a nineteen forty-six Bikini Atoll atomic test blast.