Scientists of CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Visakhapatnam have found three new canyons forming a major canyon system in the depths of Bay of Bengal close to Kovvada in Srikakulam district and for the first time they have clearly mapped the ocean floor between Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam by sending over 32 high density beams to the depths of the sea.
According to the acting director of NIO, S Prasanna Kumar, the canyon systems are generally formed by flow of river water into the sea and they could be as old as the river system, which is close to 23 million years. But what makes their find interesting is that they could locate and clearly map a new system in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Visakhapatnam after nearly five decades.
The last canyon systems off the Visakhapatnam coast were discovered in 1963 by American geologist EC LaFond of US Navy Electronics Laboratory, who was carrying out marine studies at Andhra University. He then discovered three canyon systems between Visakhapatnam and a few kilometres north of Bheemunipatnam and stated that there were three other canyons for which they have no proof. But, the Chief Scientist, NIO Mumbai, AK Chaubey had recently stated that they have discovered them and also, prominently mapped them with the help of the facilities on board RV Sindhu Sankalp research vessel.
According to PS Rao, Chief Geologist on board RV Sindhu Sankalp, the new canyon system is very huge and probably formed by the river Kandivalasa. The depth of the canyon varies from about 90 metres from the starting point to about 2,500 metres at the deepest point, and it extends to about 50 to 70 km deep into the sea and the width varies from 50 metres to 2 km.
As per the findings, the depth is more than the Grand Canyon, which is about 1,857 metres.