The 2011 EV Nautilus field season began in the Black Sea near the Turkish coast. Our Corps of Exploration acoustically mapped the continental shelf and documented evidence of internal wave dynamics and trawling activity, particularly as they affect the preservation of ancient shipwrecks. Nine shipwrecks with varying degrees of preservation were discovered, the oldest dating to ca. 500 BCE.
We continued our work in Turkish waters off Knidos in the southeastern Aegean Sea, where we investigated the coastal deep waters, exploring large areas of seabed, documenting marine geological features and 10 previously undiscovered shipwrecks. Exploration of volcanic centers in Greek and Italian waters led to exciting discoveries in geology, chemistry, and biology that will lead to a better understanding of past and present volcanic and hydrothermal systems in these areas.
New exploration in the Straits of Sicily resulted in the discovery of a World War II Italian airplane that was lost in the 1943 Battle of Pantelleria. The passive margins of Spain and Israel proved to be amazingly dynamic targets of exploration. Off Spain, we found extensive deposits of ancient volcanic rocks, deepwater coral reefs, and an abundance of other biology.
Exploration off the Israeli coast resulted in the discovery of seafloor vents, possibly releasing methane, and associated megafauna, including colonies of small tubeworms. On Gorringe Bank, off the Atlantic coast of Portugal, we recovered samples of serpentinite and gabbro similar, uplifted blocks of oceanic crust and mantle. We also observed many species of coral, fish, and other organisms, including mating crabs, which were abundant at this intersection between the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.