This post is a part of a series from the Genesis of Methane Hydrate in Coarse-Grained Systems: Northern Gulf of Mexico Slope (GOM^2) expedition.
By Peter Polito
It seems like figuring out the sea floor depth would be pretty easy with the luxury of modern technology: Sonar, seismic, acoustic, etc. However, at the end of the day we rely on actually touching it—just like seafarers of yesteryear. As the drillers and roughnecks built out the drill string they meticulously track the number of joints (lengths of pipe), total them up, account for stretching under its own weight, then touch the bottom: 6,719 feet.
In the video below you’ll see a subtle seafloor current sweeping away the very fine sediment as it is disturbed by the bit. If we assume an average sediment accumulation rate the bit just tapped through 3000 years of mud. Not visible in this photo are the seven scientists on the edge of their seat with excitement.