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This redfish and other fish benefit from deep-sea coral reefs in the North Atlantic that are threatened by trawling.  Photo: Science AAAS
Protect Wondrous Atlantic Ocean Place
Save Seamounts from Underwater Mountain Top Mining
This redfish and other fish benefit from deep-sea coral reefs in the North Atlantic that are threatened by trawling.  Photo: Science AAAS

High-tech metals highly concentrated in the crusts of seamounts include tellurium, cobalt, bismuth, zirconium, niobium, tungsten, molybdenum, platinum, titanium, and thorium. Tellurium is combined with bismuth in an alloy that is being tested as a next-generation computer chip that is more efficient and immensely faster than existing chips. Tellurium is combined with cadmium into an alloy that is considered the best material for production of multi-terawatt solar-cell electricity using thin-film photovoltaic technology.  The solar-cell industry has expressed interest in mining hydrogenous ferromanganese crusts of seamounts.

You are invited to lend your voice to our call on President Obama to protect the most pristine oceans places beyond Georges Banks out to Atlantic Ocean seamounts.  We are advocating for permanent protection of five of New England’s ocean canyons (Oceanographer, Gilbert, Lydonia, Nygren, and Heezen Canyons) and four seamounts (Bear, Physalia, Mytilus, and Retriever). This will permanently protect colossal essential places – habitats that are like no other in American waters.

Here are ten beautiful sea places of responsible ocean management with pristine ocean floors of essential benthic habitats.  A national monument area of these canyons and seamounts, an unspoiled wilderness in the midst of the most heavily fished portion of America’s waters along with the greatest density of people living on the shore, would demonstrate the unwounding of a damaged ocean sutured by the finest, the most collaborative and informed ocean policies in the world.

We ask President Obama to create a national marine monument for the Atlantic Ocean that memorialize both these wondrous ocean places and our good stewardship.

We invite you to make a donation to help defray our costs of preparing one communication.  We’ll work with you to bring your concerns to the attention of the president. We’ll add your words with your name to many others organized by neighborhoods, town and state. The value and persuasion is in the number of people communicating directly with legislators.  Please invite your neighbors to join in with a group letter.

Why

George W. Bush forever protected Pacific Ocean seamounts by proclamation creating the Northern Hawaii Island National Marine Monument. Now the rare earth elements and high-tech metal mining-eye of Mordor is turning to seamounts in the Atlantic Ocean off of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

The astonishing aspect of a seamount is its mean rock porosity of 60% and extraordinarily high surface area.  This acts like a sponge absorbing rare minerals from the enormous quantities of seawater that flow over for millennia.  Minerals that are in trace amounts in seawater are accreted into hydrogenous ferromanganese crusts.  Crusts of metal sequestration pave the seamount’s jagged surfaces.

High-tech metals highly concentrated in the crusts of seamounts include tellurium, cobalt, bismuth, zirconium, niobium, tungsten, molybdenum, platinum, titanium, and thorium. Tellurium is combined with bismuth in an alloy that is being tested as a next-generation computer chip that is more efficient and immensely faster than existing chips. Tellurium is combined with cadmium into an alloy that is considered the best material for production of multi-terawatt solar-cell electricity using thin-film photovoltaic technology.  The solar-cell industry has expressed interest in mining hydrogenous ferromanganese crusts of seamounts.

Sign our letter and please say a word to President Obama about responsible ocean stewardship and why you care for a distant ocean realm.

sea park map of canyons and seamounts

What

The New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts Area, a constellation of five undersea canyons and four seamounts southeast of Cape Cod, contains the most diverse and abundant deep-sea coral communities in the U.S. North Atlantic. Chunks of deep sea corals caught by a trawler working of the west coast of Ireland were found to be 4500 years old.  These are ancient seascapes that give refuge to cod, haddock, pollack, hake and redfish (pictured above swimming with deep sea corals, NOAA photo).

The underwater canyons that are cleaved into the continental shelf plunge 10,000 feet deep.  This is where sperm whales live.   A successful commercial sperm whale watch went to Oceanographer’s Canyon.  Leaving Georges Bank astern and cruising out over the canyon, the sea’s face is a deep blue.  A large black boxcar-shaped whale surfaces and blows with a distinctive left-listing spout.

Good Stewardship

We are learning from the successful endeavors of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council.  Ten federal representatives, ten state representatives from the five New England states, and seven tribal nations are actively deliberating with stakeholders, user and interest groups. The President’s overarching National Ocean Policy is demonstrating through local listening sessions that it takes a nation to manage our ocean.

There is a role for multiple agencies in the future of this remarkable ocean place of ledge, canyons and seamounts given the dynamic complexity of ocean ecosystems, mostly unknown.  The collaborative work of many authorities will continue to benefit this place. Respect the knowledge of those who sojourn here. To care for a place, we must first come to know it, to experience sympathetic engagement with this particular seascape. The greater the diversity of groups and individuals participating, the greater becomes the collective knowledge, and the more robust will be the solutions.

Education, Identity, Destination

We are writing from fifty-two states and territories with much knowledge and passion for this seascape.  A special area designation would give an identity to a place cherished in the blue offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  We ask for a national destination to increase public awareness, manage access, and engagement in a marvelous ocean place of ledge, canyons, and seamounts. Gateway communities will benefit economically when they become portals to places of awesome ocean wildlife, wonderful realms and unforgettable recreation.

ORI in Stones Small

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