The day before yesterday I proceed with my first sediment recovery in the deep sea in order to find some micrometeorites. This happened in the Canary archipelago, between the  islands of Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura, about 12 nautical miles away from Gran Canaria North East coast.

Canary archipelago
Situation of the Canary Islands archipelago

The first step was to check with local authorities if this kind of activity is allowed. I got an official answer I can do that.

Mining authorization

I then studied the sea bottoms using some tools like EMODnet - BATHYMETRY (Topography of the European Seas). The place I have chosen is:

        N 28º06.780' / W 15º13.822' In decimal degrees: N 28.11º / W15.23º

Google earth location

This is situated 22 km away from the Gran Canaria island coast. The Canary islands are quite dry with no constant flowing river. As a consequence very few sediments are flowing to the sea water which remains always very clear. I expected the sedimentation rate should be low so the sediments could be rich in micrometeorites.

Sea bottom Topography

I selected a smooth sea bottom. Hopefully sandy. At a depth of -1431 m.

Profile North-South
Profile North - South

Profile West-East
Profile West - East

During the COVID lockdown I built a demoniac machine with a car wheel and a washing machine motor. I realized recovering sediments so deep would not be easy. See the video bellow.

A friend helped me with his boat. The area is quite windy and wavy. We had to wait several weeks to get a quiet sea with no wind nor waves.

Boat for recovery micrometeorites

The winch mounted on the boat. Ready to go.

Winch for recovering micrometeorites

The day after, early in the morning we started the trip. The sea was OK.

Micrometeorites hunting

It took us about an hour to go to the selected point. On the way the sea got even more quiet, that was good because I am prone to motion sickness. I took several pills. 

The winch on the boat

The winch is now releasing the 0.5mm wire with the dredge. I was not very optimistic. I had the feeling this first attempt was too deep and the dredge would never be back to this world. And I got sea sick... oh damn... I wanted to step on the ground and see my mom.

Me and the sea

Now the winch is recovering the wireline. That was stressful. The re-used washing machine motor was working hard, the high strength stainless steel cable was working at more than 50% of its capacity in the whole 2200m submerged length. The probability of a failure was high.

Micrometeorites on the way up

Moving the boat accurately was important.

Looking for micrometeorites

It took one hour for the winch to take the dredge up to the surface. We were so happy to check the dredge actually contained approximately 3 litres of deep sea sediments. All worked good!
Deep sea sediments

On the way back, the winch counter is still showing the number of revolutions of the car wheel it contains.

The way back from adventure

I am now working on the sediments, I am washing them before observing with the microscope. This will be reported in a future entry in this blog.




  1. Amazing work Gauthier ��
    I know you also built a telescope as I went Stargazing twice with you and your team. Very inventive and I hope you get the results you wish ��


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