Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

The Big Blue: Reports from the Cutter Healy

Photo: U.S. Coast GuardPetty Officer Patrick Kelley

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Patrick Kelley

In August we reported on the joint Canadian/American expedition to the Arctic Ocean to probe the Chukchi Borderland, an underwater promontory that extends north of Barrow, Alaska, and map the farthest reaches of the continental shelf. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Louis S. St-Laurent were at sea from Aug. 7 through Sept. 16 as part of the Extended Continental Shelf Project. Upon their return, USCG Petty Officer Patrick Kelley shared his images with us (and, since the photos are part of the public domain, with you. Check them out  at his flickr site.)

During the trip, scientists discovered a seamount, or underwater mountain, using a 12kHz multi-beam echosounder. The seamount is estimated to be about 1,100 meters high and is located 700 miles north of Alaska at a depth of about 3,800 meters.

The currently unnamed seamount is the first to be discovered since 2003.

The currently unnamed seamount is the first to be discovered since 2003.

What goes on beneath the ocean surface is extraordinarily compelling. Fortunately, thanks to Mr. Kelley, we can also appreciate what happened in plain sight.

Photo: U.S. Coast GuardPetty Officer Patrick Kelley
Photo: Patrick Kelley
The crew of a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Kodiak, AK., prepare to depart from Barrow after delivering 9,000 pounds of food for the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Healy. Photo: U.S. Coast GuardPetty Officer Patrick Kelley

The crew of a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Kodiak, AK., prepare to depart from Barrow after delivering 9,000 pounds of food for the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Healy. Photo: Patrick Kelley

Home sweet home. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard petty officer Patrick Kelley

Home sweet home. Photo: Patrick Kelley

A bottom-moored autonomous acoustic recorder, known as a High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package (HARP), is rigged to be deployed from the Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Arctic Ocean where it will spend almost a year at the ocean floor measuring ambient noise. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard petty officer Patrick Kelley

A bottom-moored autonomous acoustic recorder, known as a High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package (HARP), is rigged to be deployed from the Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Arctic Ocean where it will spend almost a year at the ocean floor measuring ambient noise. Photo: Patrick Kelley

Dr. Alex Andronikov (right), a geologist from the University of Michigan Department of Geological Science, and John Pazol sort through rocks that were dredged from the Arctic Ocean floor. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard petty officer Patrick Kelley

Dr. Alex Andronikov (right), a geologist from the University of Michigan Department of Geological Science, and John Pazol sort through rocks that were dredged from the Arctic Ocean floor. Photo: Patrick Kelley