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Joint Hydrographic Center (University of New Hampshire



Mapping the Mysterious Arctic Sea Floor

Image of three-dimensional map of Arctic ocean floor

The beginnings of a new three-dimensional map of the ocean floor north of Alaska.

Scientists from NOAA's Office of Coast Survey (OCS) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) recently completed a three-week expedition to map one of the least-known sea-floor areas in the world.

The researchers, based at the Joint Hydrographic Center at UNH in Durham, N.H., spent three weeks aboard the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy in the Arctic using a sophisticated echo sounder to create a three-dimensional map of the sea floor in an area north of Alaska known as the Chukchi Cap.

The data collected during this expedition will help scientists better understand the underwater landscape in the region and improve climate and ocean current circulation models. This was the fourth expedition in a series of cruises to map the Arctic sea floor.

Hear what NOAA's Andy Armstrong and UNH's Larry Mayer, co-directors of the NOAA-UNH Joint Hydrographic Center, had to say about the mapping effort and see dramatic images from the expedition in this collection of three videos.