A number of ocean-floor environments in the Eastern Pacific have been investigated with the U. S.N. Electronics Laboratory Deep-Sea Camera, Type III. Fourteen ocean stations were occupied from the R/V Baird which participated in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Expedition “Downwind.” Nine successful lowerings to depths in excess of 4500 m along a track between San Diego, California, and Valparaiso, Chile, yielded a number of photographs of scientific interest. Analysis of these photographs has revealed that: certain areas of the Pacific sea floor are covered with surface concentrations of manganese; biological, chemical, and physical forces are acting continuously to form, change, and disrupt the microrelief and character of deep pelagic sediments; and the camera has proven useful as a scientific tool to conduct rapid surveys of the sediment-water interface for information on the character and distribution of geological, biological, chemical phenomena.
The rate of accumulation of pelagic sediments is closely related to the chemical formation of manganese nodules to account for the existence of widely distributed and exposed quantities of such free minerals on the sea floor.