Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Juan de Fuca Ridge Cruise
July 20 - August 1, 2000
650 km (~400 miles) off the Washington-Oregon Coast
Crew

Click on any name to read an interview:
Debra Stakes, Thomas Chapin, Karen Salamy, Tony Ramirez
Maurice Tivey, Mike Perfit, Josh Plant, Greg Moretti


Debra Stakes
MBARI Marine Geologist

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be the Chief Scientist on the cruise. This means that I have the responsibility of deciding the priorities of the cruise and exactly where the ROV should dive. The project is funded by my MBARI geochemistry project for which I promised certain scientific and technical accomplishments. Like most cruises, there will be other senior scientists joining us on the cruise, so I don't really have to face making all the decisions by myself. Mike Perfit from the University of Florida has already done extensive geochemistry on different areas of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. We have very similar ideas about the construction of ocean crust at mid-ocean ridges that we hope to test on this cruise. Maurice Tivey will add another perspective with his studies of the rock magnetics. Maurice worked on this area as part of his dissertation work.

What are your primary goals?
The primary scientific goals of this cruise is to collect geological samples and observations that will test our ideas of how oceanic crust forms. We suggest that only part of the crust is formed at the mid ocean ridge, and then this bottom layer of volcanic rocks is capped by additional lava flows with time and distance from the mid-ocean ridge. We will use the chemistry and magnetic orientation of the samples to determine their relative ages. We will also look for specific geological features that tell us the relative sequence of events--such as a young fault that breaks apart an older lava flow but then is covered by a younger lava flow. We plan to look at the ocean crust in three dimensions by collecting samples in a vertical section up the wall of the Blanco Fracture Zone, down the axis of the mid ocean ridge and then across the seafloor perpendicular to the ridge. The exciting aspect of this work will be the use of the Tiburon rock coring sled to get cores of volcanic rock from the vertical walls. The walls of the Blanco Fracture Zone may offer an important "tectonic window" into much of the upper oceanic crust that formed from the Juan de Fuca Ridge.

What do you expect to find?
We expect to find that the center of the ridge axis has slighter older lavas that are broken up by the stretching action of plate tectonics. We suspect that these flat "tectonized" lavas will be covered by slightly younger, intact lavas that flow from the fissures nearest to the mid-ocean ridge. We suspect that all of this happens within 2 km of the very center of the mid-ocean ridge.

Another hypothesis that we will test is that the subtle structures of Juan de Fuca ridge result from a predictable "volcanic-tectonic cycle". That is, sometimes this ridge behaves like the more volcanically active East Pacific Rise and sometimes it behaves more like the volcanically deprived Mid-Atlantic Ridge. We will try and correlate the distribution of lavas, faults and fissures to the variation between these two extremes.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of a research cruise is actually sailing away from the dock. At this point, there are no more proposals to write or things to buy. If you forgot to bring something, you must innovate. You have a fixed plan in your head and you must always be prepared to be surprised. Each surprise may demand a change of plans!

My least favorite part of the cruise is the last few days before we get to sail. This time is all taken up with worrying over the last details. How many rock buckets to bring? How big should the truck be that will return our equipment and samples to our home base? Are the airline tickets all arranged? Are the rental vehicles all arranged? And we all have family logistics to worry over. I have a 7 year old daughter that needs transportation to and from summer camp and lessons. The list goes on and on. Sometimes I am lucky to remember to pack my toothpaste. There's no store on the ship....

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I decided to be an oceanographer after I saw a movie in fifth grade about exploring the earth's last great frontier. I was definitely most attracted to the discovery part of the job and the travel to exotic places. I also liked the idea of not having to choose one science to focus on. Oceanography was a blending of all sciences in the pursuit of understanding the ocean and the seafloor. I was also good at mathematics and science as early as fifth grade. I remember tutoring my friends in sixth and seventh grade. When I started college, I decided to major in chemistry, which was the most challenging subject for me in high school. What I discovered was that I did great in all my math classes, really good in physical chemistry and the laboratory sciences and really bad in organic chemistry and any other course that required extensive memorization (boring, boring, boring). After two years of struggling in college, I remembered my goal of oceanography--the blending of sciences to understand the natural world. So I decided to add geology as a second major, and became the first real "geochemistry" major at Rice University. I discovered that physical chemistry and thermodynamics control rock chemistry and even the mineralogy. Chemistry is a lot more colorful when you can hold the results in your hand! My undergraduate days were followed immediately by five years of graduate school with a focus on marine geochemistry and then two post-doctoral programs. The first program took me to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean in the submersible ALVIN and the second took me to the deserts of Oman to look at fossil seafloor. Since then I have spent time both at NSF and as a college professor. MBARI is definitely the best possible realization of my grade school dreams.

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Michael R. Perfit
Professor of Geology
University of Florida
http://www.geology.ufl.edu/PerfitWebsite/

What is your role on this cruise?
I am the igneous petrologist and volcanologist on the cruise (along with Debra Stakes). I am in charge of all the "hardrock" sampling, descriptions and curating. I will also be working closely with Maurice Tivey in subsampling the basalts we recover for paleomagnetic analysis. I will be sampling basalts using the ROV and a wax corer from discrete sections of the Cleft segment, making sure that we know their exact tectonic and morphologic associations as well as their relative ages compared to the youngest basalts in the axis. Back in my labs at the University of Florida, I will be analyzing the glass from the lavas for major and trace elements, and some of them for their isotopic composition. 

What are your primary goals?
A specific goal of the proposed investigation is to integrate bathymetric, volcanologic, petrologic and observational data in order to identify individual flow units and discrete eruptive episodes along the ridge axis and in off-axis environments. Defining the distribution of recent lava emplacement and extent of geochemical variability within the axial region will allow us to understand how the oceanic crust is formed along this portion of ridge, and will allow us to more accurately document any future volcanic events that occur. The planned field and laboratory research will provide us with a comprehensive petrologic and geochemical data base to test hypotheses regarding chemical heterogeneity of the mantle, magma extraction mechanisms, development of subaxial magma bodies, causes and origins of off-axis volcanism, volumes and chemical variability in individual flow units, and the effects of ridge-transform intersections on MORB chemistry. In addition, the data we collect will allow us to determine the spatial and temporal variability/evolution of magmatism on the southern Cleft segment.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find a great deal of chemical diversity among the lavas we recover. I also expect to find some relatively young lava flows that erupted off-axis, not within the present zone of active volcanism. Lavas erupted off-axis and those close to the intersection with the Blanco Transform will also have distinct chemical characteristics that reflect cooler environments and smaller magma chambers.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I really enjoy being out in the open ocean and working closely with a wide variety of people. I have made some great friends over the years while at sea. I also enjoy the exploration aspects of oceanographic research....everything from mapping the bottom, to seeing sections of the seafloor that have never been seen before, to recovering lavas that never thought they would find their way to sunny Florida. It's also a pleasure to leave many of my day-to-day responsibilities back at the University of Florida. Although email has allowed some degree of connection with the real world while we are at sea, not getting phone calls or having students lined up to see me is very relaxing. I dislike getting seasick (which will still happen to me if it gets rough enough). I also have found it hard on my family life. There is always and adjustment to leaving my loved ones for long periods of time and then a readjustment that we all make to my returning to the nest.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
When I was a young boy, I got a copy of National Geographic magazine from my aunt and it showed a bearded scientist doing research on the ice cap at the South Pole without a shirt on. For some reason, this image of how exciting exploration could be stayed with me. Growing up on Long Island in New York State, I spent much of my time at the beach and in the water. Because I love the ocean and science was one of my better subjects in school I began to think of becoming an oceanographer. In 9th grade, I took an Earth Science class, and the teacher was really enthusiastic about geology and that got me interested rocks....and no! I wasn't a nerd in high school. I went to St. Lawrence University, in upstate New York. My first semester, I took a introductory geology course and that class pretty much sold me on majoring in geology. The professor was a petrologist (a geologist who studies different rocks and what they are made of), and he taught us all about volcanoes and earthquakes which really interested me. After I got my undergraduate degree, I decided that I really wanted to be a full-time scientist and do research and teach. I went to Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, which is part of Columbia University in New York to study marine geology. The combination of my interest in rocks, volcanoes and the oceans has lead me to become a marine petrologist/geochemist.

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Maurice Tivey Maurice A. Tivey
Dept. of Geology and Geophysics
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
http://www.whoi.edu/dept/profile.go?id=409

What is your role on this cruise?
I am a professor of Geology at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and will be going on this cruise in order to further my research.

What are your primary goals?
The primary goal of this study is to obtain oriented rock cores of the extrusive lava sequence in order to establish how the lavas construct the upper part of oceanic crust. Post-depositional rotation of the lava sequence, or lack thereof, can be estimated by measuring the magnetic inclination of the lavas remnant magnetization. This is the main objective of the magnetic sampling during the MBARI cruise.

In the proposed survey with the MBARI ROV drill, we plan to take advantage of the natural lateral exposure of a vertical cross-section of upper ocean crust at the Blanco transform and sample a complete section of upper oceanic crust. In 1995, I carried out a series of submersible dives that mapped the lateral extent of magnetic polarity boundaries within the extrusive crust [Tivey et al., 1998]. These measurements show the dipping and bending of polarity isochrons towards the spreading axis, however, no directional measurements have been made of the magnetic vectors. The proposed project will attempt to make such measurements for the first time from an ROV.

A secondary goal of the project is to learn more about the technology and problems associated with drilling the seafloor for oriented rock samples with ROV-based and small portable drill systems.

How did you become a scientist?
I went to Dalhousie University in Canada, and graduated in 1979 with a degree in Geology. I then received my master's degree in Geological Oceanography from the University of Washington in 1981, and continued on to receive my Ph.D. in 1988.

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Tony Ramirez Tony Ramirez
Research Technician

What is your role on this cruise?
I am Debra Stake's research technician. My roles on this cruise are to assist with navigation of the ROV using ArcView and WinFrog, and to assist with the collection of rock samples and all other science activities at the Cleft segment of the Juan de Fuca ridge.

What are your primary goals?
To learn more about the active tectonics of the region.

What do you expect to find?
Water, rocks, and some marine life! You never know exactly what you will find when diving with the ROV, especially around the vent sites. That's what makes this kind of research exciting for everyone involved, from geologists to biologists to the pilots who fly the ROV.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of a research cruise is the opportunity to examine the in-situ properties of the research area, instead of just reading about them in a journal article. My least favorite part is being separated from my wife and 18 month old daughter, especially for long cruises.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I have always enjoyed the beauty of the earth and curiosity drove me to understand why things appear as they do and how they got that way. I spent several years studying Earth Sciences as an undergraduate, and have recently returned to school to get a MS in Geophysics in order to expand my understanding of Earth's processes.

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Karen Salamy Karen Salamy
Research Technician
http://www.mbari.org/staff/salamy/

What is your role on this cruise?
I am a marine geology research technician working with Dr. Debra Stakes. I will be responsible for drillsled maintenance and operation, ArcView GIS Navigation and maps, VICKI/VIMS sample database, sample log information and sample storage.

What are your primary goals?
As I was project manager for the drillsled adaptation to the ROV Tiburon this year, I would like to see the drillsled operate correctly to its designed limits on the vehicle and return with some interesting cores that will tell us more about the areas' basalts and their formation.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
The packing and mobilization/de-mobilization of gear are my least favorite part! Once you are onboard and working at sea things become extremely interesting and a lot of fun.

Why did you decide to become a scientist/engineer/etc? And how did you become one?
I fell in love with the ocean when I was little and spending summers in Florida at my grandmother's house. I knew pretty early that I wanted to work on or near the ocean. My love of geology/history integrated very well with marine science and so I decided to study marine geology and paleoceanography.

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Greg Moretti Greg Moretti
MBARI Summer Intern,
High School Science Teacher

What is your role on this cruise?
I am a high school science teacher enjoying a 12-week internship at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. My role on this cruise is to send daily updates (logbook entries) back to MBARI from the ship while we are at sea. For the past 6 weeks, I have been designing and building this website. It has been a challenging and rewarding process, and I have had an opportunity to learn a lot about the website design process, scientific research at MBARI, and many other things. 

What are your primary goals?
While at sea, my primary goals are to send daily updates and pictures back to MBARI so they can be posted on this website in an "almost-live" fashion. This is the first time MBARI has taken on the task of documenting a cruise through an educational website, and my job is really just testing the whole process, finding out what kind of problems we will run into, and making suggestions for sites documenting future cruises. The main problem revolves around the transmission of data from the ship to shore, and it boils down to bandwidth and money. Do we have the capability to send very large files? How much will it cost and do we have enough money in the cruise budget? For this cruise, we will definitely be able to send text, but we may be limited as far as sending images. That's what we'll be finding out when we are at sea. The "ultimate" goal for this project is to document a much longer cruise which will be taking place in the Sea of Cortez in 2002. We want to have all the problems worked out so we can send live updates, including text and images, from aboard the ship without any problems. Stay tuned!

What do you expect to find?
I think we will be able to send a few pages of text and at least one picture per day. I will be documenting the cruise with many more pictures, videos, and some virtual reality simulations, all of which will be posted on the web as soon as we return from sea.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
It's my first cruise, so I'll tell you when I get back!

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I took a lot of science courses in college, and afterwards decided to go into teaching. I taught middle school at St. Elizabeth Seton School, in Palo Alto, CA for two years, then "graduated" to teaching high school chemistry and marine biology at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, CA. Teaching has allowed me some great opportunities to grow and continue my own education. I have learned a lot from my students, and have had amazing opportunities such as spending a summer studying marine science in Hawaii, and this current summer working at MBARI. Next year I'm off to graduate school at Duke University to get a master's degree in Coastal Environmental Management. My best advice: Never stop learning!

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Thomas Chapin Thomas Chapin
Science Postdoctoral Fellow

What is your role on this cruise?
I'm a post doctoral researcher at MBARI and work on developing underwater chemical instrumentation. For this cruise Josh Plant and I will be deploying in situ osmotic samplers and an osmotic iron (Fe) analyzer.

What are your primary goals?
The osmotic samplers are unique long term sampling devices that collect continuous samples over a year long period. they operate on the principle of osmosis and very very slowly draw a hydrothermal vent water into a very long (300m) skinny tube. The Fe osmotic analyzer actually determines the iron content in hydrothermal waters and takes a reading every 20 minutes for the whole year.

What do you expect to find?
Not sure, but we expect to find temporal variations (variations over time) of the chemistry of the hydrothermal waters. The causes of this variability will then be interpreted within the context of geological and chemical processes in hydrothermal systems

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
The Western Flyer rides quite well, so I don't think seasickness will be a factor.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I love the ocean and knew as a teenager that I wanted to be a scientist. I studied chemistry and biology as an undergraduate and chemical oceanography for my masters and PhD.

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Josh Plant Josh Plant
Research Technician
http://www.mbari.org/staff/jplant

 

 

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