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E Pacific Ocean

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Blooming Basalt Towers of North Gorda Rift Axis

While conducting visual geotransect surveys of unexplored regions of the North Gorda rift axis at over 3000m depth, we encountered some unusual features that dazzled the whole team--including the geologists! Basalt towers covered in gorgeous glass sponges, starburst-like stalked crinoids, and jewel-toned brisingid stars, deep trenches, and basalt "layer cake"-like features were just some of the highlights. These features are part of the Gorda Ridge, a tectonic spreading center located off the border of California and Oregon. 

Learn more about the with the SUBSEA research program, a multi-year partnership between NASA Science Mission Directorate PSTAR Program, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Ocean Exploration Trust, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and various academic research centers.