seas continued to be calm and pleasant, and the R/V Western Flyer arrived at
the Guaymas dive site today in time for an afternoon test dive. We were in
the green waters by 2 pm with a variety of sampling gear, ready to finally
investigate the great hydrothermal chimneys in this area.
equipment included a temperature probe, one of the ICL controlled water
samplers (see left), a Homerpro acoustic marker, push cores, the ISUS/Eh
sensor, and two data loggers to leave behind on the bottom for
pilots provided a fantastic, new sampling tool called the “chimney
crusher" (see right, below). This metal cylinder was used to pull the
tops from small active structures so that the thermocouple arrays could be
put into place. These pictures (below) show a nice chimney on top of
the12-meter-tall Rebecca’s Roost that was collected by our new device.
dive proved to be amazingly productive and successful for such a brief
time on the bottom. The navigation was accurate enough to let us move
around on our maps and identify all the structures. We found great
expanses of white bacterial mat and piles of clams on the sediments
between the chimneys.
One of the biggest surprises was a channel in the mud spouting hydrothermal fluid (see left) and surrounded by multicolor microbial mats. Low temperature structures in the south looked like great rose bushes covered with tubeworms (see below). We finished the day by launching one of our elevators with water samplers and bioboxes. It will sit on the bottom and await the arrival of the ROV for tomorrow’s dive. Tomorrow, the real work begins as we place the thermocouples in active chimneys and hope the fluids engulf the coils with mineral encrustations.