Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH) in the Oceanography department have taken the delivery of the LISST-Deep Particle size analyzer. Associate Professor Angelicque White and Professor Jeff Drazen will deploy the LISST-Deep on a research cruise in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. The 4,000 meter rated LISST-Deep is designed to provide in situ particle size and concentration measurements. They will use this instrument to collect critical data regarding particle composition an sediment suspension characteristics related to future deep-sea mining operations, and the potential impacts on the mesopelagic and bathypelagic communities.
The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) is an abyssal plain in the Pacific ocean between Hawaii and Mexico spanning 4.5 million square kilometers (1.7 million square miles) (PEW). It is as wide as the continental United States and punctuated by seamounts (PEW). Lying atop the muddy bottom or embedded just beneath it are trillions of potato-size polymetallic nodules (PEW). Polymetallic nodules are a potential mineral resource for copper, nickel, cobalt, iron, manganese, and rare earth elements—metals that are becoming important for modern life, since they are used in making electronics like rechargeable batteries and touch screens, among other things (NOAA). As such, the Clarion-Clipperton Zone has drawn the interest of the deep sea mining industry.