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Enlighten '10 Goes Deep Under the Ocean

Rv Thompson

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(Image credit: OOI Regional Scale Nodes, University of Washington, Nick Stoermer.)

Cargo for the Enlighten '10 expedition was loaded on board the R/V Thompson prior to the mission.

Jason Deployed

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(Image credit: OOI Regional Scale Nodes, University of Washington, Mitch Elend.)

Jason, an underwater robot, was deployed on July 26 in the Puget Sound to take pictures of the seafloor almost a mile underwater.

Microbial Mats

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(Image credit: OOI Regional Scale Nodes, University of Washington.)

Extensive bacterial mats and clam beds were imaged and mapped at the Southern Hydrate Ridge.

Monica Rock Sample

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(Image credit: OOI Regional Scale Nodes, University of Washington, Carlos Sanchez.)

When Jason returned from its imaging mission, Monica, a University of Washington graduate student, removed a sulfide sample from Jason's biobox.

Jason Drill Sled

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(Image credit: OOI Regional Scale Nodes, University of Washington, Carlos Sanchez.)

The Jason crew lowers the robot onto a drill sled that was used to drill into a black smoker hydrothermal vent. Sensors were placed into the drill holes to monitor temperature and record the activity of microbial communities within the walls of the vent.

Black Smoker Chimney

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(Image credit: OOI Regional Scale Nodes, University of Washington.)

This black smoker chimney in the ASHES Hydrothermal Field was imaged as a part of the mission. The porous walls of the chimney leak hydrothermal fluids that support dense colonies of tubeworms and limpets. This location may become a hot spot as part of the project to wire this region of the ocean with high-tech sensors.

Carla Shrunken Heads

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(Image credit: OOI Regional Scale Nodes, University of Washington, Carlos Sanchez.)

Carla, a research team member, models Styrofoam heads that were decorated and then sent down to 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) below the surface, where they shrank from the immense pressure. The pressure at this depth is up to 200 times greater than on the surface.

Rv Thompson Uw

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(Image credit: OOI Regional Scale Nodes, University of Washington.)

The bow of University of Washington's R/V Thomas G. Thompson, with research team members in front of the ship.