Central Caldera Complete!!
It has been a marvelous, exciting, and intense past 24 hours with the successful installation of ~15,300 ft of extension cable that will connect Primary Node 3B with the Central Caldera geophysical Site. Giora Proskurowski and Skip Denny, working with the ROPOS Team, were instrumental in this complex installation over rough topography. The installation was completed this morning, and with many smiles and sighs of relief, congratulations were expressed to all who helped with this task – especially the ROPOS Team.
Their work was not yet complete, however, — they spent the next few hours connecting the junction box (MJ03F), and installing the broadband seismometer, low frequency hydrophone, and the bottom pressure-tilt instrument. This was a great area to install such an array because, here, the seafloor is a massive, flat lava flow…making installations a bit easier.
This marks the last cable run at the summit of Axial Seamount, which is a major achievement for the OOI-NSF state-of-the-art submarine volcano observatory. With completion of cable installation, the ROV is now being switched to its "naked" configuration i.e. removal of the entire ROCLS system from the underbelly of the vehicle. ROPOS will still host it's special and important latching system, however, as we have a junction box to install on Leg 1, as well as a mass spectrometer, both of which will latch underneath the vehicle for safe transport to the seafloor.
It has been beautiful weather today – sunny skies, blue seas and fair winds to see us through the installation. Tonight work continues on deck to ready the Remote Access Fluid Sampler (RAS) and microbial DNA sampler (PPS) for deployment over the side of the ship on a cable into the International District Hydrothermal Field. Tonight ROPOS will dive into the International District Hydrothermal Field (Dive R1728) and install a digital still camera, the RAS-PPS, and a hydrothermal fluid chemical sensor.
Students are working feverishly on completion of their projects, which range from docuementing life in the deep ocean, cabled observatory instrumentation and science that the sensors address, the societal and scientific importance of the OOI-NSF cabled observatory, and developing exploration tools for high school and undergraduate students using the Graphical Information System (GIS) to examine the distribution of microbial and animal communities at vents and methane seeps.
Finally, Christina Ramirez completed a wonderful video about instruments exploring the deep sea — we hope that this makes you smile.