These tubeworms were spotted on the Galapagos Rift expedition. They are frequently found on vent communities in the Pacific ocean. Click image for larger view.
May 24 - June 4, 2002
To mark the 25th anniversary of the historic discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vents at the Galápagos Rift, a team of scientists from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and several universities revisited the Galapagos Rift.
During this expedition, the team studied cracks in the ocean floor where underwater hot springs gush shimmering, mineral-rich fluids into the cold, dark depths. These cracks in the ocean floor, called vents, brim with extraordinary, unexpected life. It was here, in total darkness, where scientists made their stunning discovery, 25 years ago, that forever changed our understanding of our planet and life on it.
Background information for this exploration can be found on the left side of the page. Daily updates are included below. More detailed logs and summaries of exploration activities can be found on the right.
Updates & Logs
Click images or links below for detailed mission logs.
June 4 Log - Mission Summary
The ocean exploration cruise to the Galapagos Rift, from May 24 to June 4, resulted in major discoveries at the site of the famous Rose Garden hydrothermal vent. One objective of the cruise was to compare the present state of site to the way it was in 1977. Initial results of the cruise strongly support observations that the Rose Garden no longer exists. The vent field has apparently been covered by a lava flow that overran the site, probably within the past ten years. As the team searched the region in the vicinity of the Rose Garden they discovered a new community of hydrothermal animals
that seem likely to be the nascent progenitors of a reborn Rose Garden. Aptly, the new site has been named Rosebud. Rosebud appears to be a relatively young site and home to a wide variety of invertebrate vent-specific organisms including the famous Riftia tubeworms and large mussels and clams. The Rosebud discovery dramatically underscores the dynamic nature of deep sea floor processes, especially in volcanically active areas.
May 31 How long do vent communities survive?
The team is learning that the life on the axial ridge is quite dynamic on the geological time scale, and even on our time scale. A thriving vent community rich in abundance only decades ago, is gone, and a smaller, new one is found.
The search for the Rose Garden area continues
. Dive teams have spotted a new vent area, populated with mussels, tube worms, and other creatures, covering about 50 square meters. ABE also detected warm water sources, and Alvin
was dispatched there to investigate, where it found a vent.
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