VISIONS '13 operations are focused primarily on installation of 23,000 meters of extension cables, part of the secondary infrastructure of the regional cabled observatory (Regional Scale Nodes) component of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). The five study cabled study sites are 1) at the base of the Cascadia margin, 125 km west of Newport, Oregon (PN1A); 2) Southern Hydrate Ridge (PN1B), a place of active methane seepage from the seafloor; 3) Endurance Offshore at 585 meters depth (PN1C), a site shared with the OOI Coastal Endurance Array overseen by Oregon State University; 4) the base of Axial Seamount approximately 400 km offshore (PN3A); and 5) the summit of Axial Seamount located at 1500 m water depth (PN3B). Axial is an active underwater volcano that hosts numerous hydrothermal vent sites.
Cable deployment and testing operations will utilize the University of Washington research vessel the R/V Thompson and the Canadian remotely operated vehicle ROPOS. Work scheduled for 2014 includes installation of cabled geophysical, chemical, and biological sensors. When completed, this network will allow 24/7/365 interactivity with key oceanographic processes.