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IFE began the initial phase of its long-term study of the Paleo-Indians of the Ice Age with a preliminary expedition to the continental shelf off Long Island.
IFE staff were joined by Dr. Kevin McBride, chief archaeologist for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. The primary tool for this phase of the study was the U.S. Navy's nuclear research submarine NR-1. The expedition began at a depth of 600 feet on the western margin of Hudson Canyon, which would have been shallow water 18,000 to 20,000 years ago. For the next 4 days, NR-1 dove along the bottom of the shelf into shallower and shallower depths, exploring what was once a land surface. In all, a distance of 775 nautical miles were traversed, ending in 155 feet of water where NR-1 operations were terminated. The purpose of the dive was to survey as much of the continental shelf region flanking the Hudson Channel as possible to determine its suitability to the long-term objectives of the study program.
The expedition was very successful. Surprisingly, little bottom-trawling activity was observed and water visibility was good to excellent, averaging 20 feet. Several large geologic regions were examined and documented, including the delineation of an ancient shoreline characterized by thick deposits of broken sea shells. Because NR-1 cannot operate in water depths of less than 155 feet, the submarine was unable to explore major portions of the flood plain where numerous woolly mammoth and mastodon teeth have been recovered. We are grateful to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and ResearchCenter for its partnership and support.
|The mission of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., which includes Mystic Aquarium, Ocean Exploration Center and JASON Learning, is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.|
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