Monday, September 15, 2008

Surveying Hydrothermal Vents

We have had a very good day. Our plans changed a little in that we learned that there was a newly discovered seamount 120 miles north of La Paz, near Puerta Escondido, with hot water (hydrothermal) vents!

Hot water vents are a remarkable deep sea ecological community that we could not resist surveying. The crew of ARGO are great and willing to accommodate the last minute change to the plan, but this kind of flexibility is key to successful research and exploration.

View of hydrothermic vents from the DEEPSEE submarine

So we boarded ARGO early, cruised all night, and then dove this spectacular seamount all day today. The ARGO is a wonderful boat and the DEEPSEE is a unique and fantastic submarine. All is going well and the weather improves every day making our research possible.

Photographer Brian Skerry in the DEEPSEE submarine

I have been impressed by the rugged coastlines here in this part of the Sea of Cortez and the ancient volcanic lava flows that are clearly seen on the hillsides, dating back many tens of millions of years. The hot water vents on the seafloor here are evidence of hot magma is not far away, close below the surface, so that it heats the sea water to make unusual marine ecosystems. So now head back to El Bajo and conduct surveys there.

-Gregory Stone


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