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Hydrothermal Vents

vents - juan de fuca

Godzilla, Sasquatch, and Homer Simpson: The Curious Names of Deep-sea Features

Hydrothermal vent fields and their individual chimneys may be places for serious scientific research, but some of their names come straight from science fiction.

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looking for microbes

Looking for Microbes

Prof. Rachel Haymon and Dr. Patricia Holden, from the University of California – Santa Barbara, have an idea about how to look for microbes in active hydrothermal vent chimneys.

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Biogeography of deep-sea hydrothermal vent faunas

Small but mighty, bacteria live everywhere at hydrothermal vents.

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Bacteria at Hydrothermal Vents

Learn about bacteria at hydrothermal vents, which inhabit almost everything: rocks, the seafloor, even the inside of animals like mussels.

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Seafloor Geology

New England Seamounts

Hotspots & Cool Volcanoes: The New England Seamounts

If you drained the water from the ocean basins, some of the most dramatic features you would see are groups or lines of underwater volcanoes called “seamounts.”

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mapping a lava flow

What Does a Young Galápagos Submarine Lava Flow Look Like?

As we investigate the submarine slopes of Galápagos volcanoes we see life that no one has photographed before.

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lava flows

Lava Flows

When a volcano erupts, the molten rock (or magma) that comes out of the Earth is called lava. Lava is the most common form of material erupted from volcanoes that form oceanic islands.

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Seafloor Gravity

Learn about what gravity is and why using a gravimeter in Alvin can help geophysicists learn about the ocean crust.

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Seafloor Magnetics

Learn about the Earth’s magnetic field and why measuring it near the seafloor can help geophysicists understand how the ocean crust forms.

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Extreme Creatures


You Feed Me, I Feed You: Symbiosis

You Feed Me, I Feed You: Symbiosis Some organisms in the ocean have developed a special relationship with each other that helps ensure the survival of both organisms. In many cases, the pair includes a microbe and a host animal. The microbes provide their host animal with food and the host provides the microbes with…

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deepsea coral

Deep Sea Corals

When most people think of corals, they think big. Big, interconnected structures such as the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, which can be seen from the Space Shuttle. Expedition 7 is going after much smaller coral formations that lie deep within the ocean, past the point where light penetrates.

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Blue footed booby

Seabird Observations in the Western Galápagos Islands

One of the investigations complementing the geologic studies the scientists on board RV Revelle are carrying out, is a survey of the seabirds inhabiting the Galápagos.

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Grenadier fish

Deep Sea Biology

As we investigate the submarine slopes of Galápagos volcanoes we see life that no one has photographed before. The creatures that live at these depths have adapted to a way of life in one of the world’s most challenging environments.

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waved albatross

Galápagos Animal and Marine Life

The words “Galápagos Islands” bring to mind images of fantastic animals and plants, ranging from dragon-like iguanas and comical blue-footed boobies to incredibly slow moving giant tortoises lumbering through arid lava fields dotted with cacti.

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Oceanographic Tools


Keeping the “Big O” Out of Alvin

Alvin pilot BLee Williams explains the dangers of using electricity in the ocean.

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ABE: the Autonomous Benthic Explorer

I’d like you to meet ABE. ABE is a robot. You’’ll notice that its name is spelled with capital letters. The “E” stands for “Explorer.” The “B” stands for “Benthic,” which means the “bottom of the ocean”—that’s where ABE explores. The “A” is for “Autonomous,” which means “by itself” or “without any help.”

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Al Bradley

Measuring Temperature At Hydrothermal Vents — Al Bradley’’s Ingenuity

ICLs (Inductively Coupled Links) transmit data through water without a cable.

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Bob Collier and Marvin Lilley — The Hydrothermal Vent Prospecting Team

CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) sensors are used to detect hydrothermal plumes in the deep ocean.

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fiber optic wire

Fiber Optics

Fiber optic technology uses light to transmit information.

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plume recorder

Finding Telltale Hydrothermal PlumesWith MAPRs (Miniature Autonomous Plume Recorders)

MAPRs (Miniature Autonomous Plume Recorders) are small instruments that measure ocean pressure and how warm and clear the ocean water is.

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sidescan sonar system

The Hawaii MR1 Side-Scan Sonar Mapping System

The MR1 side-scan sonar is a special type of seafloor imaging system that creates maps of seafloor terrain over wide swaths.

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Autonomous Hydrophone Array

Autonomous Hydrophone Array (AHA) – Monitoring Volcanic and Tectonic Processes on the Mid-Ocean Ridge

Looking for new volcanic eruptions on the global mid-ocean ridge and understanding when and where eruptions take place is one of the most exciting developments in marine geology and geophysics.

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History of the Earth

carbon 14 dating

Dating Corals, Knowing the Ocean

Coral skeletons record the age of the coral, as well as the age of the water in which they grow. Using radioactive decay dating techniques on fossil, scientists can tease this information apart.

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guaging overturn rate

Going vertical: Gauging ocean overturn rate

Water in the ocean has different ages at different depths. Scientists can determine these ages, and find out how long water takes to circulate through the entire ocean and then come back to the surface.

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Cerro Azul volcano

How Old is That Volcano?

One of the most common questions that scientists and nature lovers ask when they see an interesting rock is: how old is it?

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galapagos islands

Introduction to the Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos is a group of volcanic islands, each of the 13 major islands is made up of at least one volcano.

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What's it like to go on a cruise?

Deception Island

Deception Island: Fire and Ice, History and Humans

Deception Island has fire and ice in its history, and in the present day. Mountainous, half covered by glaciers and mostly covered with black volcanic ash, Deception is an active volcano.

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palmer station

Life at Palmer Station

Palmer Station, on the Western Antarctic Peninsula is the smallest of three research stations the U. S. maintains in Antarctica.

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It’s a fact of life on ships, but nobody talks about it much. Why should they? It’s not a pretty picture. Yep, I’m talking about the green scourge, Neptune’s revenge—seasickness.

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Paul Revere Science Club

To the Paul Revere Science Club

On February 2, Gary Comer, Bob James, and Alvin pilot BLee Williams journeyed to the bottom of the sea. Gary wrote of this amazing experience to the members of the The Paul Revere Science Club at Paul Revere Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois.

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HOV Alvin and R/V Atlantis

What Is It Like To Go Down In Alvin?

So you want to dive to the bottom of the ocean in a submarine? Better bring your wool hat, because it is cold down there.

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