Background Information

The essays below will help you to understand the goals and objectives of the mission and provide additional context and information about the places being explored and the science, tools, and technologies being used.

  • Mission Plan

    A map of the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the central Pacific Ocean. Colored areas are those licensed for mining and shaded squares are areas currently protected from mining.

    The CCZ covers a large area—it spans 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles). Within this area, there are large environmental differences relating to variations of phytodetritus input from the surface ocean (the food supply); the abundance and geochemistry of nodules; and bathymetric (seafloor) features, including the occurrence of seamounts dotting the abyssal plains.

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  • What Are Seamounts and Why Are They Important as Abyssal Habitats?

    A previously unmapped seamount we are calling 'Kahalewai.' This seamount has four ridges that radiate outward from the center. This ~4,200-meter (~13,800-foot) high seamount was almost 1,000 meters taller than previously thought.

    Despite their name, abyssal plains are not solely flat, but are punctuated by hills and seamounts. Abyssal hills rise up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above the seafloor, and seamounts are taller still.

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  • Deep-sea Mining Interests in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone

    Sea cucumber Amperima sp. on the seabed in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone.

    Polymetallic nodules are a potential mineral resource for copper, nickel, cobalt, iron, manganese, and rare earth elements. They are found in various deep-ocean regions, including the deep Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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