A Royal Navy ship has discovered and mapped a 'Grand Canyon' beneath the waves using state-of-the-art technology it emerged yesterday.
HMS enterprise discovered the 250 metre-deep (820ft) canyon beneath the Red Sea during a nine-month mission to improve understanding of the waters east of Suez.
The Devonport based ship created 3D images of the canyon, which was found after the ship left the Egyptian port of Safaga.
The ship used a state-of-the-art multi-beam echo sounder, which is fitted to the hull of The Enterprise for mapping and measuring the sea bed.
The echo sounder is considered a highly accurate way of measuring the sea bed in order to correctly determine if the depth of water is safe for navigation and shipping.
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.
“Some may be far younger and still in the process of being created by underwater currents driven by the winds and tidal streams as they flow through this area of the Red Sea, carving their way through the soft sediment and being diverted by harder bed rock. Or there is always the possibility that they are a combination of the two. It is, however, almost certain to say that this is the closest that humans will ever get to gaze upon these truly impressive sights.”
HMS Enterprise will remain in the area until the summer in order to update some of the 3,300-plus Admiralty Charts which are used by many of the world's seafarers.