October 20, 2006

Underwater mapping by robot submarine

Launching the mapping AUV from MBARI's research vessel Western Flyer off the coast of Oregon.

Launching the mapping AUV from MBARI’s research vessel Western Flyer off the coast of Oregon.

Eight MBARI researchers recently spent six marathon days at sea, using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to map the summit of Davidson Seamount. Their goal was to obtain detailed sonar images not only of the lava on the seamount, but also of deep-water corals, which can grow as tall as 3 meters (10 feet). After several years of development and testing in Monterey Canyon, the MBARI mapping AUV was used in several extended scientific expeditions this year, mapping carbonate mounds off Southern California, underwater lava flows off Oregon, and seafloor hydrates off British Columbia.

For additional information or images relating to this article, please contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett
831-775-1835, kfb@mbari.org