Dive 1614 was a short trip down and back to survey locations for instruments & junction boxes near, and in, the ASHES hydrothermal field. The imagery starts with close-ups of microbial experiments deployed in 2011 in a beautiful diffusely venting area at the base of 4-m-tall ‘Mushroom’ chimney, which is marked by highly friable ‘chimlets’ that emit particle-poor high-temperature fluids. This area is a target for a high-definition camera that will provide real-time imaging of this animal-covered edifice. ROPOS also visited > 1 m-tall, new black smoker spires at the summit of Inferno. In 2011, Inferno's top was sampled for microbial analyses, so this new growth is only ~ 2 years old. ROPOS then visited the base of Mushroom again, and the dive ended with placement of Markers 8 and 10, which will be used as target sites for placement of secondary infrastructure on Leg 4 of VISIONS'13. Video credit: OOI-NSF/UW/CSSF
This dive installed a 4140 ft electrical extension cable (ECALW7) deployed at Eastern Caldera secondary node site and running north to its termination point that will include a short-period seismometer. The medium power junction box (MJ03E) was deployed at this site on a previous dive. After setting ROCLS on the seafloor, ROPOS plugged the extension cable into the J-Box, hooked up a strain line (kellum grip) running from the cable to the J-Box, unfurled the figure-8 cable on the ROCLS horns, and then began laying cable. The run ended in a small sediment pond, perfect for follow-on deployment of the short-period seismometer. ROPOS pulled the two pins to release the flange box protecting the wet mate connector at the end of the cable, and then surveyed the cable. During the survey, the vehicle transited over a few small collapse zones. At the end of the dive, ROPOS went back and relatched into ROCLS for recovery.
Video credit: OOI-NSF/UW/CSSF
The goal of dive 1610 was to deploy 1262 m of electrical extension cable (ECALW7) from the medium power J-Box, MJ03E, to an area north of the J-Box. On a follow-on dive, a short-period seismometer will be deployed at the end of this cable as part of a network to detect earthquakes in real-time in the volcano. ROPOS descended to the seafloor near this site and unlatched the remotely operated cable laying system (ROCLS) from the vehicle's underbelly. ROPOS examined the cable in preparation for removing the section of cable on the front 'horns' of ROCLS, which hold cable splayed in a figure-8 fashion, and the wet-mate connector. Upon inspection of an oil-filled hose that is part of the cable termination, it was found that this section lacked oil. The dive was ended, ROPOS relatched into ROCLS and brought the system to the surface. This section of hose was filled on deck, and the cable was deployed successfully on a follow-on dive. Video credit: OOI-NSF/UW/CSSF
The medium-power J-Box (MJ03E) was deployed during this dive at the Eastern Caldera site, which is located ~ 600 m southeast of the Primary Node 3B. The J-Box was landed in an area of low- to moderate-relief lobate flows with a few pillows. During the dive, ROPOS connected a ~ 600 m electro-optical cable running from near PN3B to the J-Box in port 1, which had been laid on a previous dive. ROPOS cleaned up the area a bit by storing the flange box under MJ03E. ROPOS then imaged the surrounding seafloor, including a small collapse zone. There is a fair amount of marine snow in this area, as seen when ROPOS starts its return to the surface. This material rains down from the shallow surface waters, with some contribution from hydrothermal plume material in the caldera. Video credit: OOI-NSF/UW/CSSF