Impact of a deep ocean dive on styrofoam cups with the Backpack Buddies

Before: Scientists Sharon Walker and Geoff Lebon are holding Styrofoam cups decorated by the students in their daughters’ fourth grade classes along with four “backpack buddies” from Geoff’s daughter’s class. Note the size of the backpack buddies compared to the cups before they are sent to the bottom of the ocean. The fantail deck of the TG Thompson is full of equipment including the large yellow flotation balls they are standing around. Used on the hydrophone moorings, these balls can withstand the pressures of the ocean and will float to the surface, bringing the hydrophones with them, when scientists return later this year to recover them.

After: The backpack buddies are surrounded by cups that have been to the bottom of the ocean, and they think they make perfect hats. They are sitting in front of the computer the scientists use during CTD casts to monitor the data for hydrothermal plumes. The green line shows the amount of particles in the water, one of the best indicators of hydrothermal plumes. There was a strong plume with its most intense part about 50 meters above bottom on the cast shown here.

Related Links

Submarine Ring of Fire 2003

Submarine Ring of Fire 2003: February 26 Log

NOAA Ocean Explorer Gallery