Geoscience Australia Commissions RV Investigator

Australia’s marine geoscience capability has been strengthened by the official commissioning of RV Investigator, the nation’s newest scientific research vessel.

Equipped with geoscience research equipment, the Marine National Facility vessel provides opportunities for marine geoscience throughout Australian waters.

Geoscience Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Chris Pigram said that the launch of the RV Investigator is a landmark event for all scientists who work offshore as the vessel provides the science community with a modern highly capable platform from which to conduct research into our massive marine jurisdiction and beyond.

Australia’s marine jurisdiction is vast, covering an area almost twice the size of the Australian landmass, and remains relatively unexplored.

“As an island continent, Australia has sovereign rights over this vast area of ocean, and is responsible for the management and protection of the many different marine ecosystems and resources that sustain our way of life,” Dr Pigram explained.

“Marine geoscience is essential to understanding this marine environment and realising the potential it offers, now and into the future,” Dr Pigram said.

The RV Investigator uses a range of advanced geoscientific equipment to take samples, measurements and images of the sea floor and the rock beneath. Scientists use the results of their investigations to look back through the geological record to help them understand changes in the Earth’s continents, oceans and atmosphere.

Sea floor mapping uses a range of advanced sonar technologies to measure the depth and hardness of the seaf loor. Geoscientists also record variations in the Earth’s gravity and magnetic fields to determine the geological structure below the sea floor.

The vessel is also equipped with a variety of devices to take samples from the sea floor. By identifying the mineral composition of these samples, scientists can also learn more about the formation of the oceans and the geological history of the Earth, facilitating the identification of potential mineral and petroleum resources.

The enhanced capability provided by the new vessel greatly increases the opportunity for new discoveries in Australia’s marine jurisdiction.

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