March 29, 2010

NWRota 2010 Cruise Summary

The 2010 expedition to NW Rota-1 submarine volcano was a great success, despite the challenges we faced at sea. We found that the volcano was still activity erupting even though it had experienced a major landslide since our previous visit a year ago.
Jason pilot Scott Hansen and Scientist Bob Embley monitor ROV Jason during a dive to one of the erupting vents at NW Rota. Explore the Jason control van with a Quicktime VR Panorama, courtesy of R/V Kilo Moana's Third Mate, Jim Scancella (also of Click on link to load the panorama and click and drag your mouse to move around Jason's control center.
The landslide was a mixed blessing, because on the one hand it gave us a unprecedented view of how arc volcanoes grow by the cyclic process of eruption, collapse, and regrowth, how the volcano’s magmatic and hydrothermal systems responded to such a large perturbation, and how the resident chemosynthetic biological community was impacted.On the other hand, the landslide destroyed some of the instrument moorings that we left last year to monitor the volcano’s activity, and that is a major disappointment. We had hoped to capture just this kind of event, but this one turned out to be much larger than we thought possible. Still, we were able to recover one hydrophone mooring and will be examining the sound recordings it made shortly. It is safe to say that these processes have never been documented in such detail and we are sure to learn new things about submarine eruptions as well as large mass-wasting events and their impacts.
ROV Jason returns from the deep as it is lifted on to the deck of the R/V Kilo Moana

Special thanks to the captain and crew of the R/V Kilo Moana, the Jason ROV team, and the National Science Foundation for supporting our research!

-Bill Chadwick, Oregon State University

2010 NW Rota-1 Science Team:

(back row l-r):
Kevin Roe, Eric Olson, Bob Embley, Nathan Buck, Nick Deardorff, John Sherrin, Sharon Walker and Susan Merle

(center row):
Julie Smith, My Christensen

Dave Butterfield, Leigh Evans, Joe Resing, Verena Tunnicliffe, Bill Chadwick and Andra Bobbitt