The NOAA Ship Rainier is designed and outfitted primarily for conducting hydrographic surveys in support of nautical charting. The ship operates off the U.S. Pacific Coast, and in Alaskan coastal waters. The Rainier is named for Mount Rainier.
Turbidity currents can be set into motion when mud and sand on the continental shelf are loosened by earthquakes, collapsing slopes, and other geological disturbances. The turbid water then rushes downward like an avalanche, picking up sediment and increasing in speed as it flows.