Rob's blog

Mapping the great unknown: the ocean floor

The disappearance of MH370 has highlighted just how little we know about the ocean floor. Yet the race is on to map, and even Google Street View, the three quarters of the Earth’s surface that lies beneath the waves.

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Australia's new RV Investigator arrives in Hobart

Australia's new blue-water research vessel, RV Investigator, completes its delivery voyage from Singapore to Hobart today. In 2009, the Australian Government allocated $120 million for a new ocean-going research vessel to replace the old Marine National Facility, the 66 m RV Southern Surveyor. The new 93 m vessel was designed by RALion from the USA and Canada and built by Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore through the CSIRO Future Research Vessel Project.

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Geomorphological characterisation of New Caledonia

In the seas around New Caledonia, geomorphological features of the seafloor (e.g. banks, atolls and seamounts) are sites of outstanding marine biodiversity, studied by local research initiatives such as the ZoNeCo program to assess the living and non-living marine resources of New Caledonia, and by the Institute of Research for Development in Noumea and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

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Marine geologist unlocks secrets of the Great Barrier Reef

Dr Robin Beaman may well be a modern-day James Cook. The marine geologist has dedicated the past 14 years to mapping uncharted territories, discovering new marine life, ancient corals and obscure underwater landscapes along the way. His research is redefining Australia’s maritime boundaries, will inform future rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and questions everything we know about the World Heritage-listed area.

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Zenith Plateau as the final resting place for MH370?

The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 has become focused on the Zenith Plateau in the eastern Indian Ocean, lying about 1000 km to its nearest point on the Western Australia coast, or 1685 km north-west of Perth. The plateau is surrounded by the extensive Wharton Basin to the west and north, joins to the Quokka Rise and Wallaby (or Cuvier) Plateau to the east, and is bounded to the south by the Perth Abyssal Plain.

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