Mata Ua Hydrothermal Site
September 20, 2012
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Mata Ua Hydrothermal Site

Scientist discover black smoker chimneys on the second ROV dive at the Mata Ua hydrothermal site at around 2,100 meters in depth. Video courtesy of MARUM, University of Bremen and NOAA-Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Download (mp4, 128.9 MB)

Scientists celebrated today as the hydrothermal vent sources of the large plume on the northwest slope of Mata Ua were successfully located as a result of many long hours conducting CTD tow-yos, vertical hydrocasts and analyzing the resulting water column data collected over the past 24 hours. The CTD data helped narrow our search area using the Quest 4000 ROV and we discovered a large vent field of black smoker chimneys. The chimneys displayed a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors. Similarly, some chimneys were densely colonized by vent organisms while others were less so. Not previously seen on this expedition to date were dense clusters of stalked barnacles on the seafloor and on the chimneys. Many other organisms were observed within each barnacle cluster. Close-up views of the barnacles gracefully filter-feeding on the sides of the black smoker chimneys was truly stunning. Please stay tuned!