Galápagos Rift Expedition 2011

Background Information

The essays below will help you to understand the goals and objectives of the mission and provide additional context and information about the places being explored and the science, tools, and technologies being used.

  • Mission Plan

    By Jeremy Potter

    During the approximately 50-day expedition, scientists and technicians will focus on little known areas in international and Ecuador waters in the vicinity of the Galápagos Islands. This map shows the preliminary ship track and major exploration targets along the way.

    Discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vents and associated biological communities on the Galápagos Rift in 1977 (Corliss et al., 1979) profoundly and permanently changed our view of the deep sea and revolutionized the oceanographic and earth sciences.

    Read more
  • Exploring Biodiversity and Biogeography Along the Galápagos Rift

    By Tim Shank and Jim Holden

    One of the first images of black smokers on the Galápagos Rift (the Navidad vent field) in December 2005.

    Deep-sea hydrothermal vents and their associated biological communities were first discovered on the Galápagos Rift in 1977.

    Read more
  • Galápagos Regional Geology

    By Scott White, Bob Embley, and Ed Baker

    Plate tectonic boundary map of Galápagos region. Galápagos islands are to the south of the spreading ridge.

    The Galápagos region is a classic site for combined geological and biological investigations going back to the time of Darwin, who developed the Theory of Evolution, as well as an early version of the Theory of Island Development, based partly on observations in the Galápagos.

    Read more
  • Once More Unto the Rift

    By Lonny Lippsett

    The Garden of Eden vent field as seen most recently by Alvin in 2005.

    In the beginning, there was the Garden of Eden. It was a lush primordial oasis of life, but this one was on the bottom of the ocean. Now, we have embarked on an expedition to return to the Garden and to explore other nearby communities of exotic deep-sea life.

    Read more
  • Seirios Camera Sled and the Little Hercules ROV

    By Dave Lovalvo

    The ROV team prepares Seirios for the next dive during an ROV shakedown cruise conducted off the coast of the Channel Islands, CA in April 2011.

    Scientists and engineers exploring the deep ocean with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) are now able to see a lot more of what they are doing and where they are going.

    Read more