Coral Sea voyage uncovers volcanic secrets of seafloor

Scientists arriving in Brisbane after a 28-day voyage to the Coral Sea are amazed by their discoveries in the deep sea, including 5km deep seafloor canyons, unnamed volcanic seamounts, and likely new species of deep-water coral.

The discoveries came on top of the main work of the voyage on the CSIRO research vessel (RV) Investigator, collecting rock samples from volcanic seamounts to enable better understanding of how the region formed, and surveying the distribution of important marine habitats.

The voyage included visits to the waters of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, with surveys undertaken along two seamount chains that stretch from Sydney to a massive underwater volcanic plateau near PNG.

The voyage's Chief Scientist, IMAS Associate Professor Jo Whittaker, who led a science team of 35, including researchers from Australian and Scottish universities, said the voyage had been an outstanding success.

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