Escanaba Trough hydrothermal sulfide system – exploring the seafloor and oceanic footprints

PI: Gartman, Amy (U.S. Geological Survey)
Co-PI(s): Frank, Kiana (University of Hawai’i at Mānoa) : Jamieson, John (Memorial University) : Demopoulos, Amanda (U.S. Geological Survey) : Prouty, Nancy (U.S. Geological Survey) : Yeo, Isobel (National Oceanography Centre) : Zierenberg, Rob (University of California Davis) : Resing, Joseph (NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and University of Washington) : Reeves, Eoghan (University of Bergen)
Start Year: 2020 | Duration: 1.5 years
Partners: U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Memorial University, University of Bergen, National Oceanography Centre (United Kingdom), University of Washington

Project Abstract:

The Escanaba Trough, off Northern California is the only oceanic spreading center in the U.S. exclusive economic zone. Many critical, as well as potentially toxic elements, are contained in Escanaba sulfides, and are more concentrated there than in typical seafloor sulfide deposits. The compelling objectives of this project are to explore via remotely operated vehicle and autonomous underwater vehicle to increase the known extent and character of the deposit and to characterize the ecosystem, including microbes and megafauna inhabiting the trough; and to explore interactions between marine life, the metal sulfide deposits, and the hydrothermal and oceanic environment. This interagency project would be the most significant exploratory investigation of deep-sea minerals within the U.S. exclusive economic zone in recent history and will be considered a major NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey, and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management blue economy deliverable associated with Executive Order 13817, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals,” issued May 2018.