2022 Caribbean Mapping
March 10 - 28, 2022
From March 10 - 28, 2022, NOAA Ocean Exploration conducted an exploratory ocean mapping expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer focused on U.S. waters south of Puerto Rico deeper than 200 meters (656 feet).
During the expedition, the team put the sonars on Okeanos Explorer to work, including the ship’s recently upgraded Kongsberg EM 304 multibeam sonar. After departing Key West, Florida, mapping data were collected during the transit to the primary exploration area south of Puerto Rico. Over the course of the expedition, the expedition team mapped a total of 8,398 linear kilometers (5,218 miles) and 18,580 square kilometers (7,174 square miles) of seafloor, an area approximately twice the size of Puerto Rico. These mapping efforts resulted in the collection of high-resolution data needed to fill critical mapping gaps in the region and revealed never-before seen morphologic features of the seafloor south of Puerto Rico, including small seamounts.
In addition to meeting mapping objectives, outreach activities conducted during the 2022 Caribbean Mapping expedition contributed to NOAA Ocean Exploration’s goals of engaging the public in exploration and training the next generation of ocean explorers. These activities included hosting three Explorers-in-Training, hosting a live seminar with the Environmental Studies and Biology departments at University of North Carolina, Asheville and conducting one in port media tour with Telemundo, Puerto Rico.
NOAA Ocean Exploration’s 2022 Caribbean Mapping expedition will contribute to the National Strategy for Exploring, Mapping, and Characterizing the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (PDF, 1.9 MB) and Seabed 2030 and is part of NOAA’s Atlantic Seafloor Partnership for Integrated Research and Exploration (ASPIRE) campaign.