Mendocino Fracture Zone Cruise
August 24 - 31, 2000
Over 300 km off the California-Oregon Coast
Ship & Vehicle : R/V Western Flyer
and the ROV Tiburon
(R/V = Research Vessel, ROV= Remotely Operated Vehicle)
Multiple-Barrel Rock Coring Sled: A special gear sled was developed for this project. Gear sleds attach to the bottom of the ROV's and allow the scientists to use different types of specialized equipment with the same vehicle. For this project, the Tiburon was equipped for the first time with a piece of equipment called the "multiple barrel rock coring sled." The coring sled will be used to take samples of rock on vertical outcrops in order to give us a 3 dimensional understanding of the volcanic history around the ridge. We will be taking samples adjacent to the areas where we have sampled in the past in order to build on our knowledge.
Tiburon Wax Cores:
Pictures and full story
These are specially designed cylinders that are filled with a special kind of wax (researchers used "Surfwax" up until a few years ago!) which stays sticky in the cold deep ocean water. The manipulator arm on the ROV Tiburon
grabs hold of the wax cores by means of a cylindrical rubber handle and literally "whack" the wax covered end onto volcanic rock. (See picture to the left - the handles of the corers can be seen clearly in the foreground)
The glassy surface of the rock (which forms when lava cools rapidly) sticks to the wax. Even just a small amount of wax is sufficient to run tests on to determine trace and major elements that are present in the rocks. This analysis will give something similar to a "genetic makeup" of the rock, letting scientists know of its origin.