Furthering marine research through the peer efforts of scientists and engineers
October 15, 2015
MBARI engineers deploy a benthic event detector in Monterey Canyon
MBARI engineers Brian Kieft and Bob Herlien lower a benthic event detector into Monterey Canyon.

Underwater avalanches and turbidity currents carry huge amounts of sediment, organic material, and pollutants down submarine canyons and into the deep sea. Yet geologists know very little about how sediment moves during these events. This month, in what may be the most ambitious submarine-canyon study ever attempted, marine geologists from several countries are placing dozens of sophisticated instruments in Monterey Canyon.

Benthic event detector in Monterey Canyon
A benthic event detector sits in the sediment in Monterey Canyon, waiting to be carried away by an underwater avalanche.

October 15, 2015

Submarine canyons are notoriously difficult to study because underwater avalanches periodically surge down the bottoms of many canyons, often burying or destroying scientific instruments. After more than a decade of placing (and sometimes losing) equipment in Monterey Canyon, MBARI researchers have created a unique new tool to study canyon processes. These new instruments provide useful data for researchers even after being tumbled, pummeled, and buried under meters of sand.
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