The AUSCAN Voyage
18 February - 6 March 2003
The immense underwater canyon system seaward of the Murray River mouth was explored in 2003 as part of a historic research voyage funded by the National Oceans Office. The AUSCAN (standing for Australia's deep sea canyons) Voyage took place between 18 February and 6 March 2003.
The Office chartered the French research vessel, Marion Dufresne, to survey and sample areas along western Tasmania and the Great Australian Bight.
A highlight of the exploration area was the Murray Canyon group - a vast system of deep-sea canyons south of Kangaroo Island. Many Australians don't realise this stretch of ocean is home to an underwater geological feature that's bigger than the Grand Canyon and home to a vast range of fauna species. The main canyon is 4600m deep - that's more than twice as deep as Mt Kosciuszko is high.
The voyagers included representatives of the National Oceans Office, Geoscience Australia, the Australian National University (ANU) and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).
The geological and biological findings from the voyage are being used to support the important work of marine planning for Australia's oceans.