From the OO-RSN VISIONS '13 cruise: In summer 2013, the R/V Thompson was getting ready to lay the first of thousands of feet of secondary cable on the seafloor. University of Washington's John Delaney and Deb Kelley, as well as Keith Shepherd and Jason Williams with the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility give an introduction to the science and technology making this incredible feat a reality. (Video by Ben Fundis)
Dive 1604 with ROPOS focused on installing over 15,000 feet of cable across the summit of Axial Volcano. With this much cable, the drum weighed over 6,000 lbs, making it too heavy to be latched into the underbelly of ROPOS. Instead the cable drum was lowered over the starboard side of the ship using one of the ship’s wires and winches. ROPOS was also launched and about 600 feet below the ship it imaged the drum with its forward-looking sonar. Carefully, the ROPOS pilot and navigator drove the vehicle toward the drum until they were close enough to image the drum directly with the ROV's high-definition camera. ROPOS and the drum then descended to the seafloor, 5,000 feet below the ocean's surface. The cable drum was gently placed on the seafloor with the winch as ROPOS ensured there was a safe landing zone. ROPOS then attached cable to the junction box, and began laying cable on the seafloor.
Dive 1603 marked the first installation of an extension cable onto the seafloor at the summit of Axial Volcano. The 2083 feet of cable was installed from near Primary Node 3B to a southern site known as Eastern Caldera. This cable will be connected to a junction box that will provide power and communication to seismometers that will detect earthquakes in real-time and a bottom pressure-tilt instrument that will measure the inflation and deflation of the volcano's floor. ROPOS surveyed the cable route, transiting over lobate flows, bulbous pillow flows, and a few skylights. The cable was then installed and ROPOS set the cable laying system ROCLS (Remotely Operated Cable Laying System) onto the seafloor near marker W. ROPOS then removed the flange box from ROCLS so that the wet-mate connector would be available for follow-on connection to the J-Box later in the cruise. A few rat tail fish were observed along the way.