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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Antarctic icebreaker discovers ocean’s grand canyon

Australia’s state of the art Antarctic icebreaker, RSV Nuyina, has made another stunning discovery on her maiden polar voyage, mapping a previously unknown canyon more than 2200m beneath the Southern Ocean.

Scientists, who had been visiting the region for decades, had no knowledge of the 2000-metre-wide canyon, which stretches at least 55 kilometres from the Vanderford Glacier in East Antarctica.

“The world leading acoustic technology on the Nuyina is shedding new light on the secrets of Southern Ocean,” Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley said.

“As Nuyina nears the end of her maiden polar voyage, we already gaining an amazing insight into the scientific capabilities of this new ice breaker, which earlier in the voyage became the first to map the summit of an underwater mountain higher than Mt Kosciuszko.

“In this case, Nuyina has turned what would have been a relatively routine journey back from the refuelling Casey station into a voyage of genuine discovery.

“Already the Nuyina is demonstrating that Australia has opened the door to new levels of polar research that will help unlock secrets of Southern Ocean marine ecosystems, strengthen our reach inland and our understanding of the world’s climate,” she said.

RSV Nuyina is expected to return to Hobart by January 30 to prepare for a second voyage this Antarctic season to Davis and Macquarie Island research stations.

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