A Fine Field Season It Was

The Cabled Array VISIONS’15 cruise is now complete – it was an amazing 35 days at sea onboard the R/V Thompson using the remotely operated vehicle ROPOS for the first Cabled Array Operations and Maintenance cruise for the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative. The Cabled Array team sincerely thanks the crew of the R/V Thompson and the ROPOS team. We very much value their professionalism, hard work and friendship!

The expedition was highly successful, completing all operations. The total number of cabled instruments now sending live data back from the ocean is 130! 

The Canadian ROV ROPOS completed 55 dives over the 35 day cruise.

A total of 112 instruments and 13 platforms were installed. These include:
3 instrumented shallow winched profilers hosting a total of 51 instruments were recovered and reinstalled at Slope Base, the Oregon Endurance Offshore Site and Axial Base
3 instrumented platform interface controllers on the Shallow Profiler Moorings were recovered and reinstalled at Slope Base, the Oregon Endurance Offshore Site and Axial Base
3 Deep Profiler Moorings were installed at Slope Base, the Oregon Endurance Offshore Site and Axial Base, each hosting an instrumented Mclane wire crawler (the Mclane Profiler was recovered from the Axial Base mooring)
2 instrumented low-power junction boxes were recovered and reinstalled, each hosting 6 instruments
2 Benthic Experiment Packages were recovered and reinstalled at the Oregon Endurance Offshore and Shelf Sites.

The cruise also resulted in the first delineation of the April 24th, 2015 Axial Seamount eruption using the Thompson’s EM302 system. The flow is >7 km long and up to 127 m thick. EM302 data indicate that the eruption also likey occurred in Axial caldera north of the OOI cabled infrastructure. Based on EM302data, the flow in the caldera is mostly <10 m thick, nearing the resolution of the EM302 system. However, its presence is consistent with warm water detected within the caldera by cabled bottom pressure-tilt OOI instruments, and by the presence of (what looked to be) fine glass shards on a bottom pressure-tilt instrument in the Central Caldera site, as well as cloudy water in this area.

Similar to previous years, the hard work of 20 undergraduate students and one graduate student from the University of Washington, Grays Harbor College, Oregon State University, and Western Washington University significantly contributed to the cruise. The students were dedicated data acquisition loggers in the ROPOS control room and were instrumental in video and digital still image documentation of all shipboard operations, as well as documentation of all instrumentation and platforms that were installed and recovered. The team is very excited to see the results of their science and outreach projects late Fall 2015.

It's with mixed hearts we are back onshore for we miss the comraderie of the team onboard the R/V Thompson, the sea air and ocean waves, and the excitement of installing the cabled infrastructure on the seafloor and throughout the water column.