Monday, October 02, 2006

In the News: Scientists Map Canyon Below Atlantic

Ever wonder what the coast of the Harbor Bight looked like 10,000 years ago? Today, with the help of scientists from Rutgers' Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences, we know exactly what it looks like (even if it is hundreds of feet below sea-level).

The mapping of the "Hudson Canyon," an area over one-hundred miles offshore that acted as a coastlal zone during times of lower sea levels, was completed recently by Peter Rona and other oceanographers. Using a multi-beam sonar system, Rona and his team collected data over a four-year period. The resulting guide to the ocean floor provides some insight into the "last exploration frontier" of our metropolitan region, writes the Environmental News Service. JB

Scientists Map Canyon Below Atlantic
September 05, 2006

By Jeffrey Gold, Associated Press

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Although just 100
miles off the New Jersey-New York coast, the features of the Hudson Canyon have been largely hidden beneath hundreds of feet of water. Created by the Hudson River centuries ago, parts of the massive, undersea region rival the Grand Canyon in scale. Now, for the first time, scientists have a vivid picture of what the mysterious region looks like.

A four-year study using high-tech tools has produced maps that will allow scientists to study many things, including whether methane gas trapped in frozen sediment below the sea floor is escaping and exacerbating global warming.

Also of interest is whether gas releases could spark undersea landslides that produce tsunamis. Such landslides could also cleave the undersea phone cables that handle much of the nation's overseas communications, said Peter A. Rona, a Rutgers University professor who led the team that produced the maps.

"This region, the Hudson Canyon, is on the doorstep of one of the largest metropolitan areas of the world, and it is an exploration frontier," Rona said as he examined the 3 1/2-by-5-foot maps at the Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences at Rutgers' Cook College campus.


Associated Press Article


Rutgers Institute of Marine & Coastal Sciences

No comments: