The Regional Cabled Array annual maintenance cruise took place June 19-August 5, 2018 onboard the global class research ship the R/V Revelle utilizing the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason. This was the fourth Operations and Maintenance expedition for the cabled component of the National Science Foundations’ (NSF) Ocean Observatories Initiative. The cruise involve four legs (RR1809-RR1812) in and out of the NOAA Marine Facility in Newport Oregon.
The cruise was highly successful. All objectives were met during this effort, except for connection of the Axial Base Shallow Profiler Mooring due to a connector that was damaged during unplugging/plugging in of the power-communications cable. During the four Legs, 58 Jason dives were completed and 95 instruments/platforms turned/installed. Operations included turning and installation of:
- The two-legged Shallow Profiler Mooring at the Oregon Offshore site (it had been trawled in the fall and subsequently recovered)
- 3 Shallow Profiler Platform Interface Assemblies (PIA) and Shallow Profiler Controllers and Science Pods (SCIP) on the Shallow Profiler Moorings at Slope Base, Oregon Offshore and at Axial Base (both the PIAand SCIP at Axial Base due to the connector failure)
- 3 Deep Profilers (Slope Base, Oregon Offshore and Axial Base)
- 5 Junction Boxes
- 2 Benthic Experiment Packages at the Oregon Offshore and Shelf sites; and
- 84 OOI Core Instruments
In addition, fifteen CTD casts were completed with Niskin water sampling for follow-on instrument verification: all verification analyses (e.g. CO2, pH, O2, chlorphyll, nitrate etc) are available through the OOI Data Portal.
Another major success of this program was the installation of 11 new instruments/platforms through non OOI funding from NSF, the Office of Navy Research, and the German Federal Ministry of Education (MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, Bremen University) to non-OOI researchers. The PI instruments included four instruments at Southern Hydrate Ridge (G. Boherman and Y. Marcon – MARUM) – an overview sonar scanning nearly the entire seep site at SHR, a quantification sonar, a CTD and an oxygen sensor. Two geophysical instruments were installed at Axial Seamount – a flipping tilt meter (W. Wilcock – University of Washington) and a self-calibrating pressure sensor (M. Zumberge and G. Sasagawa –UCSD), and a hydrothermal flow imaging sonar (COVIS) in the ASHES hydrothermal field (K. Bemis – Rutgers University). In addition, a CTD-O2 instrument package (W. Chadwick – Oregon State University) was turned in the ASHES hydrothermal field.
The VISIONS18 program continued its long tradition of providing early career mentoring efforts to young researchers, postdocs, and graduate and soon to be graduate students. This year twenty one students participated on the at-sea program which provided opportunities to plan and lead Jason installations and thermal-seafloor surveys, EM122 water column surveys, participation in deck operations, and in leading net tows. Participants ranged from UW School of Oceanography Earth and Space Science, and Engineering undergraduate students, graduate students in the UW DXARTS and School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and participants from Grays Harbor College, WA and Queens College, NY. For many it was a life changing experience.