| Daily Updates: May 2002
| Daily Updates: June 2002
Latitude: 0 deg 49.3'N
Longitude: 89 deg 37.3W
Wind Direction: SSE
Wind Speed: 10 Knots
Sea State 2
Swell(s) Height: 2-4 Foot
Sea Temperature: 75°F (23.9°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1014.6 MB
Visibility: 10 Nautical Miles
Egg n Cheese Muffins
Cubed Havarti and Brie
Grilled Chicken Breast
Corn on the Cob
Onion Bread Rolls
Lost and found
June 3, 2002
by Lonny Lippsett
had come to revisit Rose Garden, but instead we found Rosebud. We
watched ABE and Alvin teaming up like tag-team
wrestlers to explore the seafloor. We explored a previously unknown
area of the seafloor and found a new vent field, brimming with
mussels and white clams up to a foot long. And we discovered
two extinct black smoker chimneysthe first evidence of
hot hydrothermal venting on the Galápagos Rift.
Twenty-five years after hydrothermal vents and their surprising communities
of life were discovered at the Galápagos Rift, we returned
to the historic site. Our first mission was to return to Rose
Gardenone of the most famous and well-visited vent
sites in the world. First found in 1979, Rose Garden was
filled with red-tipped tubeworms peeking out of 6-foot tall white
tubes that swayed in shimmering warm vent fluids like flowers
in the wind. Scientists had revisited the site in 1985, 1988,
and 1990, and they had observed how mussels and clams had begun
to overrun the tubeworm population. We had hoped to extend the
longest-running investigation of how vent communities evolve
over time, and how different vent animals move in and interact
with each other.
But we found no signs of Rose Garden, nor any signs of previous visits.
Instead we found a field of apparently fresh lava. We think a recent seafloor
eruption of lava may have paved over Rose Garden.
But very nearby, we found a new community of
very young clams, mussels, and tubeworms as small as 1 inch tall.
We called it Rosebud.
The new Rosebud community could be very youngless than
a year old, said Tim Shank, our expeditions Co-Chief Scientist. We
may have lost Rose Garden, but we have found Rosebud. Here
is an exciting new opportunity to watch the development of a new communityalmost
from its very beginnings.
We brought together an arsenal of deep-sea instruments
to search for hydrothermal vents. A CTD, a towed deep-sea camera,
and ABE scouted
out seafloor areas by night for signs of active venting. And
shortly after ABE surfaced at
dawn, the data it collected through the night could be turned into detailed
seafloor maps. Hot off the color printer, these maps were handed
to Pilots and Observers about to head down in Alvin, who
used them to guide their way.
On a day when the trail seemed to go cold, we
found a new 60- by 50-meter vent community 200 miles west of the
historic Galápagos Rift vent
site, where none had ever been found before. Healthy mussels and large,
white clams pile up in the cracks and crevices between black lava, where
warm, chemical-rich fluid seep through to nourish them.
And finally, just yesterday, we found two extinct
black smoker chimneys, which are formed by hydrothermal fluids
at least 200°C (392°F). High-temperature
vents have been found elsewhere on the mid-ocean ridge, but never on the Galápagos
Will we find active high-temperature venting
on the Galápagos Rift in
the future? Why do juvenile tubeworms, clams, and mussels all live together at Rosebud?
Why arent there any tubeworms at the newest site? Why do the clams grow
so large there?
We are still pioneers, seeking to understand
a hard-to-explore frontier and the inhabitants in it.
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