Geology And Geophysics

Royal Navy Finds Huge Canyon on Bottom of Red Sea

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"Royal Navy Finds Huge Canyon on Bottom of Red Sea"
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A British Navy survey ship recently made an astonishing find below the depths of the Red Sea. The Royal Navy discovered what has been dubbed in media reports as the "Grand Canyon of the Red Sea".  

According to Discovery News, the previously unchartered 820-foot-deep canyon (250 meters) was found on the floor of the Red Sea by the HMS Enterprise.  In recent months, the Royal Navy ship had been on a mission to explore the bottom of the Red Sea west of Suez.

What the crew found at the bottom of the sea was no shipwreck or other ordinary, perhaps expected, discovery on the sea's floor, but instead the ship's crew encountered a large, deep canyon.

"These features could be the result of ancient rivers scouring through the rock strata before the Red Sea flooded millennia ago," said Commanding Officer of HMS Enterprise, Commander Derek Rae, in a UK Ministry of Defense news report. "Some may be far younger - and still in the process of being created by underwater currents driven by the winds and tidal streams as they flow through this area of the Red Sea, carving their way through the soft sediment and being diverted by harder bed rock".

Or it could be a combination of both of the processes, explained Commander Rae.

The HMS Enterprise found the deep gorge after leaving the Egyptian port of Safaga.

After making the find, the Royal Navy ship produced a series of remarkable 3-D images using a multi-beam echo sounder that depict the vastness of the Red Sea's "Grand Canyon".  How it works is the echo sounder creates images from the echoes that return from the sound pulses it sends out from the ship.

While the history behind the creation of this vast canyon is not known and may never be, one thing is for certain, chances are people will not be deep sea diving in the area anytime soon.  Society will have to probably settle upon examining the recently produced 3-D images.

About the canyon, Commander Rae said, it is "almost certain to say that this is the closest that humans will ever get to gaze upon these truly impressive sights hundreds of meters beneath the surface."

The Enterprise will carry on its current mission through this summer, continuing to map the bottom of the Red Sea. According to Live Science, the HMS Enterprise's sister ship, the HMS Echo previously explored the region for 19 months, finding several shipwrecks.

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