The Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone is a major transversal topographical feature located beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. Reaching depths ranging from 700 meters to 4,500 meters, the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone is a system of two main parallel deep rift valleys. The Fracture Zone is the most prominent interruption of the Mid-Atlantic Reidge between the Azores and Iceland. The area contains two named seamounts, Minea and Hecate. The Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone is one of Mission Blue's Hope Spots.
The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone is composed of two parallel linear oceanic features that cut across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the northeast Atlantic Ocean. The unusual name reflects this duality – “Charlie” named for the ocean weather station located on one, and “Gibbs” for the research vessel used to discover the other. Subtropical and subpolar waters collide here over an abrupt seafloor feature called a fracture zone, creating a high nutrient convergence that sustains an exceptional abundance of zooplankton like krill and copepods—the basis of the marine food web that support countless species. Seamounts surround the fracture zone and rise to within 1,500 meters of the surface. These geological features provide habitat to many migratory species that are integral to ocean health and diversity.