Latitude: 27deg 0 N
Longitude: 111deg 24 W
Wind Direction: N
Wind Speed: 5 Knots
Sea State: 1
Swell(s) Height: 3 Feet
Sea Temperature: 65°F (18.3°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1014.6 MB
Visibility: 20+ Nautical Miles
Bagels with cream cheese
Almond currant scones
Split pea and vegetable soup
Fish n chips
Open face onion, tomatoes, pepper and cheese foccacia bread sandwich
Meat loaf and gravy
Pan fried fish with cajun mayo
Spinach, turnips and rutabaga
Hot fudge sundae
Some of the styrofoam coffee cups that have been "shrunk" by going
down to the bottom of the ocean on Alvin. The last dive
always has an extra full cargo of these cups. A few hundred cups
are shrunk on every Alvin cruise.
One of Josh Simpson's planets that was taken down
to the sea floor on todays dive, Alvin 3523.
1.) Alvin and
2.) Sampling hydrothermal
3.) The Planet is placed
Daily Update: Dive
By Dr. Dan Fornari and Dr. Susan Humphris
Today was the last dive day of
the cruise. Pilot BLee Williams took Don Nuzzio and Dorothee Gotz
down to the seafloor. There they took the final sediment cores
and chemical-sensor measurements of the cruise.
Everybody on the ship took part in an Alvin tradition. Each person was
given a Styrofoam shrink cup to draw or write on. On the this final
dive of the cruise, everybody put their decorated cups into net bags that were
clipped onto Alvin. When Alvin descended, the tremendous pressure
on the seafloor squashed the cups to a fraction of their original size. There
is even a joke among the Alvin crew that on the last dive of a cruise,
they must put extra weights on Alvin
to compensate for all of the Styrofoam cups that the scientists attach. Today,
there were three net bags of cups, so everyone had a souvenir to take home.
A special event took place during todays dive. The people in Alvin placed
a hand-blown glass planet next to one of the hydrothermal vents.
The planet had been made by artist Josh Simpson. Dan Fornari had met Josh 20
years ago when Dan was in graduate school and Josh was starting his career as
a glass-blower. Josh's planets reflect his view of Earths beauty and how
we are blessed with a wondrous living environment that as far as we know is unique
in the known universe.
Josh lives in the hills of western Massachusetts. He began making planets" in
1979 after inviting 8th graders from schools in his area to his studio to watch
him blow glass. For several months, he spent Wednesday afternoons with a new
group of kids and discovered that marbles and other glass spheres were something
that they could relate to. Cats eyes, swirls, and trapped air bubbles
were challenging to make, but the results fascinated kids and adults alike. His planets evolved
from those early concepts. They are now sold in craft and museum shops throughout
the US and abroad. For the past five years, Dan has been seeding the Mid-Ocean
Ridge and hydrothermal vents in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean with Josh's planets. Josh
thinks of them as artifacts that get reincorporated into the Earth and left for
future generations to find, like the glass ampoules found in the Pharaohs tombs
The scientific work was beginning to wind down. The scientists were busy caring
for their cultures, cleaning and packing their equipment, cataloging their biological
specimens, and writing their reports of the dives and their preliminary results.
Anna-Louise and Jane let us look through their microscope at the fantastic starbursts
and long strings of tiny microorganisms growing on their culture slides. Some
of the microorganisms wiggled around as the light of the microscope heated the
The crew also kept busy. Because it was the last dive, they had to recover the
three transponders that Alvin had used to navigate along the seafloor.
Once the sub reached its last sampling spot, the person on the ship who was keeping
track of Alvin sent an acoustic command, a series of beeps and squeaks,
telling the transponder to release from its anchor. About an hour after sending
the signal, the first transponder popped onto the smooth surface of the Sea of
Cortez. The Atlantis crew hauled them onboard with a grappling hook. Because
the ships crew needed to test the emergency rescue boat, they drove the
boat out to recover the second transponder.
Finally, BLee called up to say that they had finished their work and that the Weights
are away, meaning they had released Alvins weights and the
sub was now surfacing. The recovery went smoothly on a sea that was almost flat
calm. Then Atlantis turned to the southeast, cranked up the speed to 12
knots, and headed for Manzanillo, Mexico.
On Bottom: 0802
Off Bottom: 1405
Maximum Depth: 2005 meters
Don and Dorothee deployed a marker at Rebeccas Roost vent so that the
next scientists who come to this vent can identify where previous samples had
come from. They then took core samples, Sipper samples, and water
samples. They also did some Electrochemical Analyzer profiles of the hot vents,
cooler regions of the sulfide structure, and sediments, and collected a sulfide
sample. They then moved northwest to Kristin's Summit vent where they placed
the glass planet and sampled another sulfide structure.
They took a water sample of 300°C fluid using a titanium sampling bottle.
They will analyze this fluid back on shore to determine its chemical composition.
Unlike the bottle the scientists used yesterday, today's sample bottle cannot
keep the gases from escaping. On the seafloor, the gases in the bottle are under
almost 200 atmospheres of pressure. As the sub surfaces and the pressure decreases,
the gases expand and escape. The gas-tight bottle they used yesterday prevents
the gases from escaping, so scientists can measure the kinds of gases dissolved
in the fluids.
After the sub resurfaced, the Alvin crew scrubbed it down with soapy water
then rinsed it with freshwater. Now begins the task of preparing for the next
series of dives that starts on January 27. There will be a new group of scientists,
new research objectives, and more discoveries to be made on the ocean floor.