Amazing Places

These Are the Weird Creatures at the Deepest Parts of the Gulf of Mexico

A fact that never ceases to amaze: We know more about the surface of Mars than we do about what's in the deep sea. Because of this earthly blind spot, some new weirdness nearly always pops up any time we venture down there. We're definitely not complaining.

It's Goin' Down

In December 2017, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) completed its first of three missions to the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico. The mission of the NOAA team aboard the Okeanos Explorer was to both map the seafloor more than 2,000 feet below the surface and explore the diversity of these deep-water habitats. As far as the photographic souvenirs go, this month-long expedition did not disappoint. Thanks to a mix of remote-operated submersibles and shore-based instruments, we now have a bunch of stunning images of previously unexplored areas. Check them out below.

Dive In

The coiled tip of a bamboo coral growing out of the sediment on the seafloor.
A small snake star surrounded by the spiny arms of larger sea stars among coral.
A spider crab atop a giant isopod in the isopod at a depth of 1,788 feet (545 meters).
A ctenophore, or comb jellyfish, swimming near the seafloor.
A startled Periphylla periphylla, or deep-sea helmet jellyfish, colliding with the seafloor.
A cusk eel at a depth of 1,585 feet (483 meters).
A colonial tuscarorid phaeodarean at a depth of 2,300 feet (701 meters).
A sea toad at a depth of 2,428 feet (740 meters).
Written by Joanie Faletto February 8, 2018

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