Soon after it left the Port of Oakland, California, in February 2004, the shipping vessel Med Taipei hit a strong winter storm with violent 30-foot-high (9 meters) swells. Amid rolling waves, 15 shipping containers came loose and toppled overboard, sinking to the icy seafloor inside the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Just four months later, scientists surveying the seafloor with an underwater robot found one of those lost containers nearly 4,200 feet (1,300 m) below the surface. They turned their chance discovery into an opportunity to study how aquatic life reacts to deep-sea pollution. Read full story