Autosub6000, which was developed by British scientists, descended almost three miles below the surface to investigate a canyon north of the Canary Islands. The trough contains the deepest seabed volcanoes in the world. Its next mission is to investigate the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, one of Europe’s worst natural disasters, in which more than 10,000 people died. The successful first dive this week formed part of a research expedition investigating potential threats to Western European coasts from tsunamis, giant landslides and earthquakes.On its return to the surface, 24 hours after its launch, it provided scientists with three-dimensional images showing holes in the sea floor the size of Wembley Stadium – evidence of giant underwater avalanches in the past, and a potential cause of tsunamis in the future. Autosub6000, which was developed at the National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton, can dive to a depth of 6,000 metres – nearly four miles – allowing it to reach 93 per cent of the world’s seabed. It is an exciting prospect as the deepest parts of the sea floor remain the last explored places on our earth.
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