25 deg 19.2S
Longitude: 70 deg 01.8E
Wind Direction: ESE
Wind Speed: 17 Knots
Sea State 3
Swell(s) Height: 6-7 Foot
Sea Temperature: 80°F (26.7°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1017.0 MB
Visibility: 18+ Nautical Miles
Daily Update: At the Kairei vent field
By Amy Nevala
the bottom of the Indian Ocean, covered in white wiggling
shrimp, we found them at last -- black smoker chimneys first
described last fall by Japanese scientists.
around the clock, scientists tonight will begin pinpointing
the chimneys exact locations and dimensions. Then they
will start making maps showing the distribution of animals
living on the vents. The information we gather will build
on research done here last fall by Japanese scientists.
The vents crawl with sea life. At the chimneys base, white
sea anemones resemble fuzzy snowballs. Fat mussels and snails
tuck into the crevices. Thumb-sized shrimp swarm the chimneys length,
feeding on the bacteria that thrive on its surface.
Between this weird, wonderful zoo streams superheated water with high
concentrations of acid and metals. This dark fluid gives the
black smoker its name.
the next week we will float two and half miles above this area,
using ROV Jason to explore the vent sites. It will be tricky,
considering the chimney site - a complex system of thin spires
as high as a two-story house - and the often difficult task of
manipulating ROV Jason.
Imagine dangling a long piece of spaghetti from the top of a tall building
and trying to get the end of it into a waiting mouth. That is what it is like
maneuvering Jason, said geologist Dan Fornari.
arrived at the chimneys late this afternoon, three hours after
ROV Jason and the vehicles six cameras splashed into the
ocean. A dark, bumpy seafloor scattered with rocks and sediment
appeared on the ships TV monitors.
Then, there was life.
Theres an anemone, look at that, said biologist Colleen Cavanaugh.
What is that? Could be a dead octopus, said biologist Tim Shank,
pointing at a lumpy mass on the screen.
shrimp! Vent shrimp! said biologist Cindy Van Dover as
several of the snow white crustaceans zipped by one of ROV Jasons
Scientists on Knorr now watch this site 24 hours a day, each person working
four hours on, then eight hours off. The schedule repeats as long as Jason is
This afternoon biologist Shana Goffredi noted her scheduled 4:00 to 8:00 watch
shift. Tomorrow her alarm is set for 3:30 am.
brutal, said Goffredi with a good-natured grin. I
hope that coffee pot is on a timer.
Goffredi and the other scientists stand watch in the control van. This is where
the DSOG team operates ROV Jason.
Two 20-foot shipping containers pushed together form this portable room, filled
with high-tech equipment where scientists make observations and record their
data. Its dark inside, like a movie theater, and quiet except for the hum
of 12 computers and 22 computer and television monitors. These display data and
views of the seafloor.
Except for the galley, the control van has now become one of the most popular
places on the ship. With discoveries ahead like the spectacular show we saw tonight,
it likely will remain that way.
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