Submarine Ring of Fire 2002
June 28 - July 11 and July 23 - August 5, 2002
Part I. Explorer Ridge, NE Pacific
An interdisciplinary exploration team of U.S. and Canadian scientists used new seafloor mapping systems, an autonomous vehicle, and a remotely operated vehicle to investigate the birth of new ocean crust off the coast of western North America, part of the Pacific Submarine Ring of Fire. Volcanic ridges lying as close as 60 nautical miles of the northwest U.S. and Canada are part of the world-girdling Mid-Ocean Ridge system, a 60,000 km long series of seafloor spreading centers where new earth is born. The Mid-Ocean Ridge is the beginning of a giant conveyor belt, whereby new ocean floor created at mid-ocean ridges are welded to giant moving plates that are ultimately recycled at island arcs and deep-ocean trenches.
From June to August 2002, the exploration team on board the research vessel Thomas G. Thompson explored the Explorer Ridge, one of the elongate volcanoes of the mid-ocean ridge in the northeastern Pacific where the Pacific Ocean conveyor belt originates.
Background information for this exploration can be found on the left side of the page. Regular updates are included below. Detailed logs and summaries of exploration activities are found on the right.
Updates & Logs
Click images or links below for detailed mission logs and updates.
June 28 - July 11 In less than two weeks onsite, the Pacific Ring of Fire science party characterized the locations and approximated the extent of hydrothermal activity over Explorer Ridge, employing new surveying technologies, and establishing sites for the remotely operated vehicle ROPOS to explore during the second phase of this mission. Read about the success of the new multibeam sonars and how they aided in mapping the Magic Mountain area. Watch an animation video that shows the deployment of ABE, and the different sonar surveys that were used to characterize the Magic Mountain site. (Quicktime, 2.1 Mb).
The Ring of Fire Missions
Click images or links below for more information on all Ring of Fire missions.
Take a trip to the seafloor! Explore the hydrothermal vents of the Magic Mountain Chimney Fields via a series of interactive computer animations and videos. (Where is Magic Mountain?)
(July - August) Scientists return to the Kermadec Arc, to explore in great detail the Brothers submarine volcano. This will mark the most comprehensive exploration of this type of arc volcano and is one of the most vigorous geothermaly active yet discovered.
(April - May) Scientists return to explore active submarine volcanoes lying along the Mariana Arc, extending for more than 800 nautical miles.
(April - May) Join scientist as they explore the active submarine volcanoes along the Kermadec Arc, located north of New Zealand, with a pair of manned submersibles the PISCES IV and V.
(March - April) An interdisciplinary team of scientists returned to the submarine volcanoes of the Mariana Arc to explore, utilizing an underwater tethered robot (ROPOS).
(February - March) An interdisciplinary team of scientists explored the submarine volcanoes of the Mariana Arc lying north of Guam in the western Pacific.
(June - August) An interdisciplinary exploration team used new technology to investigate the birth of new ocean crust off the coast of western North America, part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire."
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