Underwater exploration

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**Scope and Objectives of Underwater Exploration:**
Exploration involves systematic examination or investigation.
– Aims to understand marine life distribution and Earth’s crust features.
– Involves measuring physical and chemical properties of water.
– Limited knowledge due to access difficulties and costs.
– Systematic exploration crucial for increasing understanding.

**Status of Underwater Exploration:**
– Over 80% of the ocean remains unmapped and unexplored.
– Less than 10% of the ocean mapped in detail.
– Coastal waters have a 50% survey gap.
– Inland waters section requires expansion.
– Seabed mapping often relies on approximate depths.

**Types and Techniques of Exploration:**
– Investigating bodies of water form and extent.
– Using remote sensing technologies like sonar and satellites.
– Studying geological characteristics of seabeds.
– Identifying and recording biological specimens.
– Discovering shipwrecks and archaeological sites.

**Platforms and Technologies for Exploration:**
– Undersea exploration conducted from ships, buoys, and satellites.
– Remote sensing efficient for tasks covering large areas.
– Instruments like magnetometers and sonar used for surveying.
– Platforms deploy divers, crewed submersibles, ROUVs, and AUVs.
– Aircraft and satellites carry remote sensors for wider view.

**Major Initiatives and Projects in Underwater Exploration:**
– Global initiatives like Seabed 2030 Project and UN Decade of Ocean Science.
– Crowdsourced data projects by IHO for digital bathymetry.
– Census of Marine Life involving over 2,700 researchers.
– NOAA Ocean Exploration program for deep ocean exploration.
– Notable figures in diving and exploration history.

Underwater exploration is the exploration of any underwater environment, either by direct observation by the explorer, or by remote observation and measurement under the direction of the investigators. Systematic, targeted exploration is the most effective method to increase understanding of the ocean and other underwater regions, so they can be effectively managed, conserved, regulated, and their resources discovered, accessed, and used. Less than 10% of the ocean has been mapped in any detail, less has been visually observed, and the total diversity of life and distribution of populations is similarly obscure.

DSV Alvin, a crewed submersible, much used for underwater exploration

Types of exploration include investigation of the form and extent of the body of water or part thereof, investigation of the geological characteristics of the seabed and freshwater equivalents, and investigation of the geological structure, strata, and sediments underlying the body of water, investigation of the physical and ecological characteristics of the body of water and its containing geographical features, discovery and investigation of shipwrecks and archeological sites, and direct and remote visual observation of what is there.

The oceans can be divided into deep ocean and coastal waters. Inland waters are mostly fresh, and consist of rivers, lakes and ground water, some of which is in accessible caves.

Underwater exploration is largely a recent development, as it relies heavily on fairly advanced technology over almost all of the relevant territory.

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