Day 5

Everyone was excited for today's ROPOS dive. We followed the edge of the recent flow at Axial Seamount for a while, seeing the new black lava stand out against the older flows beneath it. The first time we tried to sample the flow, the glassy basalt broke in ROPOS' grip. The second time, a crowbar was used to pry off one of the spheres protruding from the seafloor, and I watched as Keith Shepherd used a gentle but firm grip to lift the piece off the ground and into the 'bio box,' where most of the samples were kept before being brought to the surface. Later, students and researchers filled the ROPOS control room when we encountered a snowblower, which looked like a cave frosted around its mouth with white, snow scattered around the ground around it (the "snow" here was bacteria).