Paul Henri Nargolet dived even to the sunken Titanic the most, in total more than 30 times.
During one such trip, in 1998, a mysterious sonar sound was recorded near the crash site.
And in the following decades, no one was able to determine what kind of point of light it was, whether it was another shipwreck, some kind of geological feature, or something completely new.
And now, in 2022, the mystery is finally revealed.
During an expedition to the wreck of the Titanic earlier this year, Nargolet and colleagues were able to document a deep reef teeming with marine life some 2,900 meters (9,514 feet) below the surface.
“We didn’t know what we were going to find,” says Nargolet. “It could have been a number of things on sonar, including the possibility that it was another shipwreck. I was looking to investigate this large object that had been on sonar a long time ago. It was great.” Explore this area and find this wonderful volcanic formation that is teeming with life.”
The researchers observed sponges, corals, fish, lobsters and more on top of a basalt mountain range temporarily called the Nargeoleth Fanning Range.
While it will take some time to review all the images and videos from the last dive, the team is committed to sharing their findings with other scientists to improve our knowledge of life in the deep sea.
One interesting method of research aims to determine how the species of life, the concentration of organisms, and the composition of the overall ecosystem differed between the Nargeoleth Fanning Range and the famous shipwreck that lies nearby.
“The similarities and differences will help us better understand our deep-sea environment,” says marine scientist and expedition principal investigator Steve Ross of the University of North Carolina.
The researchers have also collected several water samples that can be performed with environmental DNA analysis to learn more about the species we are dealing with on this newly discovered edge.
Computer models will also be used to study how life survives in situ: this ties in to scientists’ ongoing efforts to learn more about how sponges and corals can spread so widely across the ocean.
All of this plays into the ongoing research into how climate change impacts the oceans as well, and how these sensitive ecosystems can adapt and survive warmer waters.
“We need to share this information with the scientific community and policy makers so that these vulnerable ecosystems get the attention and protection they deserve,” says marine biologist Murray Roberts of the University of Edinburgh in the UK.
Source: Science Alert.