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Imagine: You’re in a small submersible, and you gently settle on the soft muddy bottom at a depth of 12,000 feet. It’s absolutely dark. What will you see when the exterior lights are turned...
Thousands of seamounts—most of them undersea volcanoes—tower above the muddy...
Smithsonian curator of fossil marine mammals Nick Pyenson and a team of...
Using maps and graphics, Smithsonian geologist Dr. Liz Cottrell provides an...

LATEST CATCH

The ocean, which we often break into five large ocean basins, covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and holds over 1.3 billion cubic km of water. This massive space also holds over 99 percent of the area that can be inhabited...
These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like...
If you want to explore the depths of the ocean, you may want to go to the...

DIVE DEEPER

Scientists from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) collect sediments drilled from Earth’s crust. This marine...
On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 earthquake emanated from the little-known Central Virginia Seismic Zone. The epicenter was near Mineral, VA, but the tremor shook homes, schools, and office buildings in...
An archaeologist arranges a deep-sea core from off the coast of Britain. These cores are long cylinders of the earth's crust, drilled up from beneath the seafloor. When the cores shown here are...
A large white coral (Corallium sp.) grows on the Balanus Seamount, part of the New England Seamount chain. Hanging on to the coral are stalkless crinoids and orange brittlestars (Opiacantha sp.) To...
Scientists from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) collect sediments drilled from Earth’s crust. This marine research program supported by 24 countries is increasing our understanding of...
Thousands of seamounts—most of them undersea volcanoes—tower above the muddy seafloor. They provide something hard to come by in the deep ocean: a solid surface to cling to. Corals, sponges, and...
Microscopic, single-celled organisms called foraminifera have a fossil record that extends from today to more than 500 million years ago. Although each foram is just a single cell, they build complex...
The Chikyu allows scientists to gather and study data about seafloor sediments as soon as they are collected. After a powerful 9.0 earthquake triggered a devestating tsunami in Japan in March 2011 ,...
A dredge from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be seen removing a sandbar off of Virginia Beach, VA. This type of removal occurs in order to clean up the seafloor or to allow for large ships to...
A diversity of deep-sea corals—including primnoid coral ( Narella sp.), black coral ( Trissopathes pseudtristicha ), and feather stars ( Florometra serratissima )—flourish 2,669 m (8,757 ft) deep on...
If you want to explore the depths of the ocean, you may want to go to the deepest part: the Mariana Trench. This trench has a maximum depth of 11 kilometers (around 7 miles) and is almost five times...
This Japanese research ship Chikyu drills into the ocean floor to learn about Earth’s history and structure, and the mechanism of earthquakes in particular. Completed in 2005, it is the first...
You are not alone if you don’t know what forams (short for foraminifera) are, so let’s start with the basics. Simply put, forams are single-celled organisms related to the familiar amoeba that...
Geologist Charles Paull (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) investigates geologic features similar to pingos (Earth covered ice mounds found in the Arctic) on the Arctic Ocean floor where...
The New England Seamount Chain is the longest in the North Atlantic Ocean. It includes more than 30 major volcanic peaks. Seamounts provide a solid surface for corals and other marine animals to...
These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like miniature works of art -- but they were not sculpted by an artist. They are the shells of microscopic organisms called...
These deep-sea sediment cores were drilled from beneath the seafloor, and hold information about millions of years of ocean and atmospheric chemistry. As dirt, dead organisms, and other particles...
Imagine: You’re in a small submersible, and you gently settle on the soft muddy bottom at a depth of 12,000 feet. It’s absolutely dark. What will you see when the exterior lights are turned on? Will...
An underwater archaeological stratigraphy reveals the different levels of soil in Hare Harbor, Quebec. The stratigraphy – a process archeologists use to help date materials by identifying soil layers...
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