The Beacon

Blog Tags: The Pinnacles

Photos from the Alabama Alps

Yesterday you heard about the Latitude’s foray into the Alabama Alps. Today, photos!

Here are some of the cool creatures our deep-sea ROV captured on camera. Which one's your favorite?

Special thanks to Nautica, whose support made our use of the deep sea ROV possible!


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Good News from the Alabama Alps

Today’s expedition update, which comes to you from scientist-in-charge Dr. Michael Hirshfield, contains some good news about the Alabama Alps:

Sunday, September 12

After making several transects of the Alabama Alps today and comparing Oceana’s observations with those from previous scientific investigations, we believe to have a fairly good snapshot of the area.

Based on what we saw from the ROV footage and CTD scans, there are no obvious signs that this area was harmed by the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Here’s Oceana conducting a CTD scan:

CTD Scan by Oceana Latitude at Alabama Alps 09.12.20 from Oceana on Vimeo.


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Exploring the Gulf’s Underwater Mountains

It was an exciting day yesterday on the Latitude, as Dustin reports. We owe a hearty thank you to Nautica, who is making this leg of the expedition possible.

Saturday, September 11

The heat and humidity did not divert the Oceana crew from the important task at hand today.

After running a few more quick tests on the Spanish ROV, the crew sent it down for its first operation. Positioned near the “Alabama Alps,” the ROV was lowered nearly 250 feet to the ocean floor.

As strong underwater currents tried to move the Oceana Latitude from the operation site, expedition leader Xavier Pastor worked closely with the ships’ crew to ensure that all the necessary measures were taken to keep us on course.

Here’s Xavier Pastor:

Xavier Pastor in Oceana Latitude ROV Control Room September 11, 2010 English from Oceana on Vimeo.


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Day 30: Testing the Deep-sea ROV

© Oceana/Carlos Suarez

In today’s update from the Latitude, the crew tests the ROV for its journey into the depths of the Gulf. (Big thanks to Nautica for making our use of the ROV possible!)

Here’s Oceana’s senior campaign communications manager Dustin Cranor:


Friday, September 10

From the surface of the water, it’s hard to imagine that a small underwater mountain range with pinnacles reaching as high as 100 feet above the seafloor is below us.

With the help of an echo sounder and Olex seafloor mapping software, Oceana’s experts were able to create a visual image of a section of “The Pinnacles” off the coast of Alabama, which some people call the “The Alabama Alps.”

As is standard procedure on the first day of a new research operation, the Oceana crew spent time testing the ROV equipment after its long trip from Spain. The reason the Spanish ROV can be used to investigate deepwater areas is because it’s tethered to a weighted line that gives it greater stability and control. A crew of at least six is needed to operate the ROV, including the winch, crane, cable and controls.


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