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Daily Updates: March 2000
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Daily Updates: April 2000
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Daily Updates: May 2000
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View Today's Slideshow!

partlycloudy weather

Partly cloudy
80.6°F (27°C)
Latitude: 1 deg 37’N
Longitude: 102 deg 16’W
Wind Direction: calm
Wind Speed: n/a
Sea State: 0
Swell(s) Height: 4-6 Foot
Sea Temperature: 84.2°F (29°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1011 MB
Visibility: 10-25 Nautical Miles

what's to eat today?
Ham and egg breakfast sandwich
Hash browns and hot cereal
Waffles and eggs to order
Banana nut bread
Bacon and sausage
Mangos and melons
Dry cereal

Turkey balls
Wild rice
Potato and onion casserole
Navy bean soup
Salad bar

Stuffed pasta shells
Italian sausage
Fried eggplant
Zucchini and bell peppers
Garlic bread
Salad bar
Pumpkin pie


Click here to watch a
video on rock coring.



Seafloor detectives
April 11, 2000
By Dr. Dan Fornari

I got up this morning early, about 0530 hours, to check on how the DSL-120 survey was going. When I got to the Main Lab, there were posters everywhere with pictures of my bean-bag pal “Feathers” -- the chicken from the Wallace and Grommit cartoons. The Pollywogs (people who have not crossed the Equator on a ship before) have hijacked my chicken and are taking pictures of him doing silly things (check out yesterday’s and today’s slide shows for examples)! I don't know why, but this kind of behavior always takes place when you get close to the Equator and there are Pollywogs on board. Oh well, we’ll be crossing the Equator in about a week or so, and all the honorable Shellbacks (people who have already crossed the Equator at sea), who are trusty members of King Neptune’s realm, will be sure to rid the RV Melville of any scurrilous Pollywogs!

We are now working at our third study site on the East Pacific Rise near 1°45’N. In many ways, we are just like detectives looking for clues to solve a crime! We were led to our “crime scene” by the seismic events detected with the Autonomous Hydrophone Array. We mapped out where everything is yesterday with the multibeam bathymetry, so that we can work in the area with a thorough knowledge of the lay of the land -- in our case, the valleys and ridges on the seafloor. Now we are homing in on the exact location of the “crimes” (in our case, volcanic eruptions) with the DSL-120 sonar system. We are seeing many interesting volcanic and tectonic features, and quite a few places where recent lavas have flowed over the cracks and fissures in the seafloor created by plate tectonics stretching the ocean crust (see the slide show for examples). Were these formed by the 1997 eruption? We don’t know yet. We will begin our next step in solving the “crime” tomorrow, when we will look for visible evidence of recent volcanic activity using the Argo II. Later in the week, we will then try to collect actual pieces of the “smoking gun” -- the fresh, glassy lava -- that will prove our case!

Sea Quiz #3

1. What types of information do we use to help us locate potential sites for recent volcanic eruptions?

a. Earthquake locations
b. Areas on the sonar record where we see “bright” reflective volcanic terrain
c. Shallow topography (elevated seafloor) on the mid-ocean ridge axis
d. All of the above

2. How many meters are in a nautical mile?
a. 6000
b. 5280
c. 1852
d. 10,000

3. How often does the RV Melville conduct fire drills?

a. Once a day
b. Twice a week
c. Once a week
d. Once a month

4. When the ship’s crew and scientists cross the Equator for the first time, they are inducted into the Honorable Society of ________________.

a. Pollywogs
b. Sea salts
c. Watch leaders
d. Shellbacks

Click here for the answers