Ridge Crest News

News from the Ridge-Crest: US GEOTRACES study of Sth EPR Hydrothermal Fluxes

 In late October, the RV Thomas G. Thompson set sail from

EMSO-Azores standalone seafloor observatory successfully reinstalled for a third year of operation!

We are leaving the Lucky Strike Mid-Atlantic Ridge volcano and hydrothermal vents after an eventful 12 days cruise with RV Thalassa  and VICTOR 6000 ROV. We successfully maintained and reinstalled the components of the EMSO-Azores standalone seafloor observatory:

R/V Atlantis OASES cruise to Mid-Cayman Rise

Beginning January 6, 2012, an international, interdisciplinary team of scientists will be spending nearly a month at sea aboard the R/V Atlantis and using the deep-diving, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason to explore and sample newly discovered hydrothermal fields (the Beebe vent site at 5000 m and Von Damm vent site at 2600m on the Mid-Cayman Rise—Earth’s deepest and one of its most slowly-spreading mid-ocean ridges. On board is one of InterRidge's 2011 Fellows - Dr Eoghan Reeves.

Follow the Oases 2012 expedition online: http://oases2012.blogspot.com/

Completion of NEPTUNE Canada

Canada has just made scientific and technological history, completing the installation of NEPTUNE Canada—the world’s largest and most advanced cabled ocean observatory.

SO-216, Manus Basin, June 2011

Between June 14 and July 23 of 2011 a science team lead by Wolfgang Bach of the MARUM research center in Bremen used the German research vessel SONNE for hydrothermal studies in the Manus Basin, Papua New Guinea. During the transits and in the Manus Basin, bathymetric maps of the seafloor were produced. In the study area, the ROV MARUM-QUEST was used to map and sample hydrothermal vent systems in water depths between 1150 and 1800 meters below sealevel. Quest can document venting with HD photos and videos and take samples of rocks, fauna, and fluids.

IODP Expedition 335 Superfast Spreading Rate Crust 4

The Superfast campaign, echoing long standing ocean lithosphere community endeavors, was designed to understand the formation, architecture and evolution of ocean crust formed at fast spreading rates. IODP Expedition 335 "Superfast Spreading Rate Crust 4" (13 April to 3 June 2011) was the fourth scientific drilling cruise of the Superfast campaign to ODP Hole 1256D. The cruise aimed to deepen this basement reference site several hundred meters into the gabbroic rocks of intact lower oceanic crust.

R/V Okeanos Explorer - Mid-Cayman Rise

Chris German (WHOI) and Paul Tyler (NOCS, UK) are leading the cruise on RV Okeanos Explorer. 10 days of off-axis exploration of the Mid-Cayman Rise are planned, including the recently discovered Von Damm hydrothermal field.

Further details: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1104/welcome.html

GALREX 2011 Expedition at Galápagos Rift

Leg II (July 11-28) of the Galápagos Rift Expedition (GALREX) 2011 is underway with a team of scientists and technicians both at-sea and on shore. Mapping and water column information collected during Leg I identified a number of exciting targets to explore with the Institute for Exploration’s Little Hercules ROV. During Leg II the team will explore seamounts, the oldest known vent fields, off-axis sulfide mounds, deep fracture zones, and newly-discovered vents.

News from MOMARSAT 2; MAR Lucky Strike, July 2011

We are leaving the Lucky Strike volcano and hydrothermal vents after an eventful 4-week cruise during which we successfully reinstalled all the components of the EMSO-Azores standalone seafloor observatory: 

-the two seafloor SEAMON (Sea Monitoring) stations and their connected instruments: a 3-components seismometer and a hydrophone for seismic event detection, two pressure probes for geodetic measurements, a video camera, a dissolved-iron analyzer, and an optode (oxygen and temperature probe) for ecological time studies. 

Three new hydrothermal fields discovered, 13-14S MAR, COMRA Cruise 22

During January to February 2011, the 2nd Leg of the COMRA’s 22 Cruise found three hydrothermal fields on 13-14°S Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). They were named temporarily as Rainbow Bay North, Valentine Valley and Tai Chi, respectively.

Hydrothermal exploration along the southern Central Indian Ridge, Cruise KH-10-6, Nov 2010

The objectives during KH-10-6 were:

1) to verify the hypothesis that hydrogen-rich KHF is controlled by the ambient crustal structure and the chemical composition of lithosphere,
2) to estimate the chemical and microbiological fluxes from KHF to seawater through hydrothermal plumes,
3) to quest an unknown hydrothermal field on the rise, tentatively called Yokoniwa Rise, north of the KHF, and
4) to develop the survey method for hydrothermal activities using AUV. 

New deep-sea hot springs discovered in the Atlantic, Oct 2010

Scientists from the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen on board the German research vessel Meteor have discovered a new hydrothermal vent 500 kilometres south-west of the Azores. The vent with chimneys as high as one meter and fluids with temperatures up to 300oC was found at 1000m water depth in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The discovery of the new deep-sea vent is remarkable because the area in which it was found has been intensively studied during previous research cruises.

Mid-Cayman Spreading Centre Hydrothermal Vents located by Cruise RRS James Cook 44, Mar-Apr 2010

The cruise (JC44) started with a high resolution multibeam survey (Simrad EM120 bathymetry with 50m resolution) and TOBI survey (30kHz deep-towed sidescan sonar with 3m resolution) of the entire Mid-Cayman Rise. We followed this with a plume survey using CTD casts and fine scale mapping using the new AUV, Autosub 6000. The target areas were initially based on the earlier RV Cape Hatteras plume data but were quickly modified following the results from our new surveys.

Read cruise report

INSPIRE: International South-East Pacific Investigation of Reducing Environments

With a coastline stretching more than 4,300 km (>2,700 miles), the geology and biology of Chile provides an incredible natural laboratory to study how life on our earth functions and has evolved. One specific setting, the Chile Triple Junction, of particular interest to two intersecting international programs – InterRidge and the Census of Marine Life - exemplifies this. The Chile Triple Junction (CTJ) area represents the intersection of three tectonic plates and the only place on Earth where a mid ocean ridge spreading center is being actively subducted beneath a continental margin.

Cruise PARISUB on EPR 16N magmatism and hydrothermalism over a ridge-hotspot interaction

In March-April 2010, cruise PARISUB (Plume And Ridge Interaction by Submersible) of R/V L’Atalante investigated the East Pacific Rise (EPR) between 15°22’N and 16°15’N where the spreading axis meets the Mathematician seamount chain.