Straits of Florida
This cruise will focus on the discovery of new cold-water ecosystems and improved understanding of underwater geological hazards and processes. The Straits of Florida is a trough that separates the Florida Peninsula from Cuba and the Great Bahamas Bank. Due to the differences in geological, oceanographic, and chemical processes within this region, the deep water contains some of the greatest species richness in the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition will also study underwater landslide deposits and slump scars for evidence of methane escape, as a cause of slope failure and potential tsunamigenesis. Methane venting would likely support rare chemosynthetic communities. Large vertical displacements of the seafloor will be examined to better understand local plate tectonic activity and potential for slope failure, earthquake, and tsunami hazards.