Submarine Ring of Fire 2012: Science


Mission Plan
Mission Plan
Submarine Ring of Fire 2012: NE Lau Basin is the latest in a series of expeditions to explore the submarine volcanoes of the Western Pacific. Our primary objective will be to explore and to characterize the unique ecosystems in the NE Lau basin through examination of their geology, chemistry, and macro- and micro- biology.

Submarine Volcanoes of the NE Lau
NE Lau Basin Virtual Fly-Throughs
Virtually explore volcanoes found in the NE Lau Basin by watching 3d fly-throughs created using satellite bathymetry data.

Submarine Volcanoes of the NE Lau
Submarine Volcanoes of the NE Lau
We are going to see a variety of submarine volcanism on this expedition, everything from old sediment-covered lava flows to (maybe) an actual underwater eruption spewing plumes of sulfurous gas, ash and perhaps even flowing lava.

Hydrothermal Vent Plumes
Hydrothermal Vent Plumes
The seafloor of the Northeast Lau Basin is one the most volcanically active areas known to scientists. Magma from deep within the crust upwells to the seafloor to form long ridges and symmetrical volcanoes. Cooling of the magma creates seafloor hot springs (hydrothermal vents), which construct mineral deposits, nurture unique biological communities, alter deep-sea circulation patterns, and profoundly influence ocean chemistry and biology.

Introduction to Chemoautotrophic Microbes at or near Hydrothermal Vents
Introduction to Chemoautotrophic Microbes at or near Hydrothermal Vents
One of the most astonishing features of hydrothermal vents is the unusually high biomass and fast growth rates of microbes that grow on and around the vents. The biomass is extremely high because of the chemical energy present in hydrothermal fluids.

Searching for New Pharmaceutical Drugs from Hydrothermal Vent Animals and Microbes
Searching for New Pharmaceutical Drugs from Hydrothermal Vent Animals and Microbes
Natural products chemists have begun to evaluate recently discovered deep-sea vent organisms as a source of small molecule natural products with medicinally-relevant properties. For this exploratory expedition, we will rely on studies of the biology and water chemistry of the targeted vent fields to plan our collections.

 

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