After installing Chris' mapping laser, Hercules and Argus were launched this morning for dive H1246. We began the dive on the southeastern corner of Eratosthenes Seamount. Our first objective was to map the cold seep area with stereo cameras, high-resolution multibeam, and structured light (mapping laser). During the mapping survey, we noted a fish called a Greater Forkbeard, and looked it up in the book "Fishes of the Eastern Mediterranean" to learn more. The published maximum depth of the Greater Forkbeard is 700 meters, but we were working at a depth of 950 meters! We immediately contacted one of the coauthors of the book to ensure that future publications will note the new depth range.
Following the seep mapping survey, we transited to another area of fresh-looking scours in the seafloor that are hypothesized to be caused by beaked whales. We also mapped this area with the same sensors listed above, and collected push cores of the sediment inside the scours.
During our exploration, we have also been in touch with scholars from Harvard University and Wheaton College, who are doing research on the identification of the shipwreck that was found yesterday, Eratosthenes C. Based on the types of ceramics found on the site, they currently estimate that the wreck dates to the 4th century BC.
We are now continuing our visual survey of the top of the seamount, now moving from south to north to explore for any interesting geological or biological features on the seafloor. Hercules and Argus will be recovered at 8am local time (1am EDT) to reconfigure our sensors so we can map vertical faces of cold seeps and slickensides, and will be relaunched tomorrow afternoon/evening.