Development of William’s Ridge, Kerguelen Plateau

Increasing our understanding of the geology, geophysics, origin and development of two remote submarine plateaus.
Voyage No


10 Jan, 2020


06 Mar, 2020




Chief Scientist

Professor Mike Coffin


University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Voyage summary

Research voyage to the Southern Ocean to study to study the geology, geophysics, origin and development of two remote submarine plateaus to the southwest of Australia. The data collected will form the basis for a submission to the UN that could lead to Australia’s marine jurisdiction near Heard Island being extended by an area the size of Switzerland.

Researchers will study the Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge to increase understanding of how these plateaus – which formed together – rifted, broke apart and separated. This is a world-first study and the research will contribute towards Australia maintaining a secure and prosperous maritime territory.

This is an extended voyage that utilises the maximum endurance (60 days and 10,000 NM) of RV Investigator. The research will involve a very wide range of geophysical studies and geological sampling including:

  • Multi-beam mapping
  • Sub-bottom profiling
  • Seismic (reflection) surveys
  • Rock dredges
  • Gravity meter and magnetometer
  • Deep tow camera

 The voyage also includes the following research projects:

  • Using samples from the Kerguelen Plateau to date past West Antarctic ice sheet collapse (A/Prof Jan Strugnell, JCU - on shore)
  • Argo float deployments (9) (Rebecca Cowley, CSIRO - on shore)
  • SOCCOM float deployments (6) (Prof Lynne Talley, Scripps Institution of Oceanography - on shore)

The science team on this voyage includes 36 participants from 13 institutions, with researchers from 11 nations including Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA.

Voyage outcomes

Summary of voyage outcomes - as well as voyage image gallery - will be published approximately one month after completion of the voyage.