HMS Enterprise discovers underwater 'canyon'

Image of underwater canyon captured by HMS Enterprise HMS Enterprise captured the images using an echo sounder fitted to the ship's hull

A Royal Navy survey ship has captured images of an underwater canyon in the Red Sea.

Devonport-based HMS Enterprise is on a nine-month deployment in the Middle East, updating maritime charts.

The 250m-deep (820ft) canyon was discovered after the ship left the Egyptian port of Safaga.

The 3D images were created using a multi-beam echo sounder which is fitted to Enterprise's hull for measuring the sea bed.

Cdr Derek Rae, commanding officer of HMS Enterprise, said: "These features could be the result of ancient rivers scouring through the rock strata before the Red Sea flooded millennia ago.

HMS Enterprise HMS Enterprise will return to Devonport in the summer

"Some may be far younger and still in the process of being created by underwater currents driven by the winds and tidal streams as they flow through this area of the Red Sea, carving their way through the soft sediment and being diverted by harder bed rock.

"Or there is always the possibility that they are a combination of the two.

"It is, however, almost certain to say that this is the closest that humans will ever get to gaze upon these impressive sights hundreds of metres beneath the surface."

HMS Enterprise left Plymouth in September and will remain in the Middle East until the summer to continue its task of updating some of the 3,300-plus Admiralty Charts which are used not only by the Royal Navy, but seafarers around the world.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Devon



Min. Night 8 °C

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.