March 8, 2010

Cruise Plan

2009 view of Brimstone Pit at NW Rota 1. Bucket was used to collect tephra (ash) spewing from the erupting volcano.

We are heading back to NW Rota-1, a submarine volcano that has been found to be actively erupting every time it has been visited since 2003. In fact, this is only one of two sites in the world where deep underwater eruptions have been directly observed (the eruptive vent is at a depth of 520 meters or 1700 feet). With support from the US National Science Foundation, we are taking advantage of this incredible opportunity to learn more about how submarine eruptions work and how they effect the ocean environment. For example, there are hydrothermal vent animals that live on top of the volcano in the midst of these eruptions and we’re very interested in how the eruptive activity affects the animals. During this expedition (March 16-30, 2010), we will be making dives with the remotely operated vehicle Jason from the research vessel Kilo Moana to make visual observations, collect samples, and deploy and recover instruments. What will we find this year? We don’t know, but we hope you will follow along to find out!

- Bill Chadwick, Chief Scientist, Oregon State University

Ship leaves Guam on March 16, 2010.
Returns to Guam on March 30, 2010.