We will be studying the Escanaba Trough to characterize the sulfide minerals and hydrothermal fluids in Escanaba Trough in order to investigate the continuity of both through time; to characterize the ecosystem, including microbes and megafauna inhabiting the trough; and to explore interactions between marine life, the metal sulfide deposits, and the hydrothermal and oceanic environment enveloping both. We will also be doing AUV based mapping.
Escanaba Trough; Southern Gorda Ridge; US EEZ; Offshore CA
20 days at sea on R/V Thompson using ROV Jason, AUV Sentry, gravity coring, and CTD casts
Mineral distribution; metal sulfide geochemistry; species distribution; microbiology distribution; water column chemistry; hydrothermal fluid chemistry; sediment geochemistry; organic geochemistry
Two-body ROV system. A 10-kilometer (6-mile) reinforced fiber-optic cable delivers electrical power and commands from the ship through Medea and down to Jason, which then returns data and live video imagery. Medea serves as a shock absorber, buffering Jason from the movements of the ship, while providing lighting and a bird’s eye view of the ROV during seafloor operations. Jason is equipped with sonars, video and still imaging systems, lighting, and numerous sampling systems.