Porcupine Bank

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Northeast Atlantic bathymetry, with Porcupine Bank and the Porcupine Seabight labelled.

Porcupine Bank is an area of the Irish shelf, on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) west of Ireland.[1] The relatively raised area of seabed, 200 m below sea level at its highest,[2] lies between the deep-water Porcupine Seabight and Rockall Trough.

The name comes from the bank's discovery in 1862 by HMS Porcupine, a British sail and paddle-wheel ship used mainly for surveying.[3][4]

The northern and western slopes of the bank feature species of cold-water corals.[5]

According to Dr. Anthony Grehan of the National University of Ireland, Galway, the virtually untouched site could benefit dwindling fish stocks and possibly aid medical research.

These are by far the most pristine, thriving and hence spectacular examples of cold-water coral reefs that I’ve encountered in almost ten years of study in Irish waters. There is also evidence of recent recruitment of corals and many other reef animals in the area suggesting this area is an important source of larvae supply to other areas further along the Porcupine Bank.

— Dr. Anthony Grehan, [6]

In an 1870 paper presented to the Geological Society of Ireland, Mr W Fraser suggested that these reefs mark the site of the sunken island of Hy-Brasil.[7] Hy-Brasil was recorded on maps of the 15th and 16th centuries and is sometimes referred to as the other Atlantis.[8]


  1. ^ Velasco, Francisco; Jorge Landa; Joaquín Barrado; Marian Blanco (2008). "Distribution, abundance, and growth of anglerfish (Lophius piscatorius) on the Porcupine Bank (west of Ireland)". ICES Journal of Marine Science. 65 (7): 1316–1325. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsn130. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  2. ^ Shannon, P, Haughton, P, Corcoran D, (2001) The Petroleum Exploration of Ireland's Offshore Basins, Geological Society, P355
  3. ^ Evans, Frank. "A History of the Porcupine Marine Natural History Society". Porcupine Marine Natural History Society. Archived from the original on 2011-11-03.
  4. ^ Hoskyn, R. (1863). "Atlantic Telegraph and the Western Coast of Scotland". The Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review. 48.
  5. ^ Deepwater coral reefs found off west coast Archived 2009-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, RTÉ News, 26 May 2009
  6. ^ Breakingnews.ie: New coral reef found off west coast
  7. ^ Winsor, Justin (1889). "Narrative and critical history of America (Volume 01)". Houghton Mifflin & Co. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  8. ^ Broome, Fiona. "Hy-Brasil, the other Atlantis". Historic Mysteries. Retrieved 25 November 2012.

Coordinates: 53°20′00″N 13°30′00″W / 53.3333°N 13.5000°W / 53.3333; -13.5000