Horseshoe Bank

Color bathymetric map of East and West Flower Garden Banks showing Horseshoe Bank in between
East and West Flower Garden Bank with Horseshoe Bank in between

Bottom Depth Range: 250-575 feet (76-175 meters)

Horseshoe Bank, located between East and West Flower Garden Banks, was unknown until NOAA conducted high resolution multibeam mapping surveys in the area in 2004. The name was suggested because of the feature's shape and became official in 2015.

This effort revealed thousands of patch reefs providing habitat for mesophotic corals, sponges, algae, invertebrates and fish. It also included a few mud volcanos (the raised bumps inside the horseshoe shape on the map above).

Horseshoe Bank was named by sanctuary research staff based on the overall shape of the feature.

Silt covered reef structure with yellow, white, red and orange corals scattered on top
Typical reef habitat at Horseshoe Bank with a variety of black corals and gorgonians
Gray and red bushy corals with a red and white crinoid spread out in between

Deepwater corals and crinoids at Horseshoe Bank

A bushy, white black coral colony attached to hard substrate. A small crinoid clings to the lower left branches.
A bushy black coral colony at Horseshoe Bank