The high-definition video camera on the OOI Cabled Array system provides very high resolution views of black smoker fluids and coupled biological activity at the Mushroom hydrothermal sulfide chimney within the ASHES hydrothermal field on the western side of the caldera at Axial Volcano. The time-series imagery, from over 300 miles offshore and nearly 1 mile beneath the oceans surface, is providing new insights into growth and collapse of the sulfide chimneys, changes in macrofaunal and microbial mat distribution, and movement and interaction of the organisms that densely colonize the Mushroom chimney.
The camera is a SubC 1Cam high-definition video camera adapted for use on the OOI cabled network by Cabled Array engineers at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory. The camera is designed to transmit an uncompressed video stream in real time to shore at a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, 60 frames per second, interlaced. The shorthand notation for this mode is 1080i60. This HD video camera was installed in 2013 and connected to the primary infrastructure in 2014. The video streams back to shore and can be watched live every 3 hours.
The camera is associated with fluid samplers for follow-on chemical analyses of diffusely flowing fluids and with a novel thermistor array that provides 3D measurements of temperatures in diffusely flowing fluids. Fluids in the vent have been measured at over 260°C, while the surrounding seawater is ~2°C. In concert, these instruments allow characterization of how fluid chemistry and temperature impact biological communities of tube worms, palm worms, limpets, and microbes, and how these communities evolve over time in response to volcanic and seismic events.