Exploring Previously Unknown Vent Communities
June 1, 2002
And so it happened! We continued to the west to look in the vicinity of a former volcano which rose atop of the axial ridge.As the plates spread apart, the residual underwater volcano was split. As we arrived thousands of years later, we examined this area during the dive today, and our team discovered a new area showing evidence of thermal venting at low velocity.
At the site we found large clams of about 10 inches in length, and mussels of about 6 inches in length, not unusual in hydrothermal vent communities. But the tube worms, as we saw in Rosebud, were not seen.
We collected samples of the unique population and furthur explored this new site which was exciting to both biologists and geologists alike. We will be back in the water tomorrow morning with Alvin for another look. Until then, we will tow the CTD to look for thermal anomalies, indicating venting areas, and map the area with ABE which also can detect thermal anomalies. The trio of technologies applied in concert, ABE, CTD tow-yos, and Alvin, make a dynamic team for this type of exploration.
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