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Observations of the deep-sea floor from 202 days of time-lapse photography

Naturevolume 272pages812814 (1978) | Download Citation



MANY photographic surveys have been made of the deep-sea floor to determine objects of interest to both geologists and biologists1–4. With the exception of the use of the Isaacs5 baited ‘Monster Camera’, most photoreconnaisance surveys have suffered from being only instantaneous snapshots of the bottom. The added dimension provided by time sequence framing significantly increases the amount of information to be obtained from the use of bottom viewing cameras particularly in regard to the rates of various bottom processes. The Bottom Ocean Monitor (BOM) was developed by Gerard and Thorndike in 1974. It consists of a Thorndike time-lapse camera system and a long-term Thorndike photographic nephelometer mounted on a tripod with an Aandera current and temperature recorder6 above the tripod, all provided with an acoustic release. Using this equipment, we have taken more than 1,200 time-lapse photographs at 4,873 m depth in the North Equatorial Pacific Ocean. We report here that they show evidence of more rapid benthic biological processes and changes in sediment microtopography than had been previously assumed.

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  1. BRUCE C. HEEZEN: Deceased.


  1. Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, 10964



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