25 deg 19.01S
Longitude: 70 deg 02.2E
Wind Direction: ESE
Wind Speed: 15 Knots
Sea State 3-4
Swell(s) Height: 7-9 Foot
Sea Temperature: 79°F (26.1°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1015.5 MB
Visibility: 18+ Nautical Miles
Daily Update: Rocks and repairs
By Amy Nevala
Sidelined with a broken thruster, ROV Jason returned to the ship after
a night of scouting the black smoker chimneys we found yesterday.
Sampling the rugged terrain around the chimneys requires
maximum maneuverability with Jason.
DSOG team worked since 4:30 this morning on the repairs so tonight
Jason can again descend two and a half miles to continue hydrothermal
vent exploration. Also heading to the bottom is the elevator,
a platform loaded with 100 pounds of sampling equipment, water
bottles and blue coolers to stow animals.
Over the next few days, we will maneuver Jason to
slurp shrimp, scoop mussels and even catch crabs in fish-baited
traps. Then the elevator will lift them to the surface.
Last night, we had a good look at the chimneys we
are exploring, an area covering about half the size of a football
On the television monitors, five groups of black
smoker chimneys were spotted swarming with thousands of busy shrimp,
like bees on a hive. Four species of anemones, several snails and
an occasional crab passed before Jasons cameras.
Mussels around the smokers bases were well-camouflaged by their brown
shells, wrote biologist Cindy Van Dover in a biological description she
posted this morning in the ships main lab.
Jasons temperature probe, Cindy and others on the night watch found
fluids with temperatures as high as 365°C, or 689°F, flowing from
the hydrothermal chimneys.
Thats hot - about twice as hot as the temperature you would set to bake
Today while the DSOG team repaired Jason, geologists
began dredging the slopes around the site to collect samples of
the chimneys volcanic rock foundation.
They dredge by dragging a large chain-link bag from the ship to scoop anything
in its way.
The rocks they collect help the scientists begin
to paint a picture of the sea floor environment.
Imagine being in a spaceship and dropping a garbage can down to Earth.
You drag it along and catch a window frame, a church steeple and a desk. From
that you have to determine what Earth is like, said geochemist Susan Humphris.
The football-sized rocks Susan collected were all
old volcanic rocks, more than 10,000 years of age. Their orange rusty surfaces gave away their
Animal, rock and water collecting and sampling will
take up most of the next few days, with much to be learned about
this fascinating landscape far beneath the ship.
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