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The Coast and Geodetic Survey Ship PIONEER III

4 diesel engines, twin screw, length 311.6 feet, beam 41 feet, draft 13.8 feet. Acquired from Navy in 1946, ex-MOBJACK, AGP-7, a seaplane tender. In service 1946-1966 in Pacific Ocean. In August of 1955, this vessel was equipped with a towed magnetometer developed by Victor Vacquier of Scripps Institution of Oceanography while conducting surveys for the Navy off the coast of California. Subsequent processing of the magnetic data led to the discovery of magnetic striping on the seafloor, a major discovery in the development of the Theory of Plate Tectonics. This survey, from Point Conception to Cape Flattery became known as “The Pioneer Survey.” The PIONEER also took part in the International Indian Ocean Expedition in 1964 and was the first Coast and Geodetic Survey vessel vessel to conduct operations in the Indian Ocean. This vessel is commemorated by the naming of the geographic feature Pioneer Fracture Zone.

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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