ABSTRACT

An AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) was used for the first time for exploration of polymetallic nodule in Japanese license area of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone. Seafloor topographic map with 1 meter contour line was produced in two areas of about 20km2 each by AUV survey equipped with MBES, SSS and SBP. Photographs, continuously covering the seafloor taken by AUV, together with seafloor topographic map produced from MBES of the AUV enable us to understand detail manner of distribution of polymetallic nodule. By this method, more accurate resource estimation is possible. Furthermore, information of micro-topography helps for designing ore collector.

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