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Royal Navy images undersea 'Grand Canyon'

Posted on Feb 25, 04:32PM | IANS

London, Feb 25 : A Royal Navy survey ship has captured incredible images of a "Grand Canyon" under the sea as part of updating admiralty charts.

HMS Enterprise discovered the 250-metre-deep canyon in the Red Sea, during a nine-month mission. The 3D images were created after the ship left the Egyptian port of Safaga and were made using the Devonport-based survey ship's multibeam echo sounder.

Commander 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," the Daily Mail reports.

The deepest water canyon in the world is in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of Spain, nearly five km underneath the surface. Other canyons are in the Hudson and Amazon rivers. A canyon in the Congo is the largest river canyon in the world.

The echo sounder, which is fitted to Enterprise's hull, produces the images from the echoes returning from the sound pulses it sends out. This is a highly accurate way to measure the sea bed to determine if the depth of water is safe for navigation and shipping.

HMS Enterprise will remain in the Middle East until summer to continue its task of updating some of the 3,300-plus Admiralty Charts which are used by many of the world's seafarers, including the Royal Navy.