Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Mendocino Fracture Zone Cruise
August 24 - 31, 2000
Over 300 km off the California-Oregon Coast
Crew

Click on any name to read an interview:
Debra Stakes, Karen Salamy, Paul McGill, Bob Duncan, Anne Trehu, Martin Fisk
Allen Throop, Bethany Schaarschmidt-Ames, Pete Kalk


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. 

What are your primary goals?
Our goals are to study the tectonic history and structure of the northernmost extent of the San Andreas System, as exposed along the Mendocino Fracture Zone. The MBARI program, lead by Debra Stakes, will focus on the lithology of uplifted oceanic crust.The seven dive days of this cruise will explore the deformed ocean crust of the Mendocino Ridge, the uplifted contact between the Pacific and Gorda plates and the enigmatic channels on the easternmost Gorda Escarpment

What do you expect to find?
We will be conducting research on the Gorda Escarpment in order to test hypothesis about the origin and makeup of this area. Hopefully we will be able to support our hypothesis, or perhaps even come up with a new hypothesis, about the way that the Gorda Escarpment formed.

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.

top of page

Karen Salamy
MBARI Research Technicia

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.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? 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.

top of page

Bob Duncan Bob Duncan
Professor, Oregon State University

What is your role on this cruise?
I will be one of the chief scientists, heading up the research group from Oregon State University. My job will be to assign duties for the daytime ROV and nighttime coring operations, and to work with the other chief scientist, Debra Stakes to make sure the cruise objectives are met.

What are your primary goals?
My main interests are in finding out how the Gorda Escarpment formed, and when it may have been thrust up above sea level in the geologic past. To accomplish this will require knowing what kinds of rocks form the Gorda Escarpment, and the age of the oldest sediments on top of this east-west trending ridge.

What do you expect to find?
We expect to find steep, bare rock slopes on the north side of the ridge where we can collect rocks with the ROV, and layers of marine sediment on the top and gentle south slopes. I'm sure we'll also see lots of fascinating animals on the ocean floor.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part of oceanographic cruises is the sense of adventure in going to places where no one has been before -- to be the first to discover something remarkable. Another aspect that I like is the close friendships that you make being at sea with other scientists and crew.

My least favorite part is being away from family and activities at home.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I was really attracted by the enthusiasm of my teachers in high school and college for being involved in science. It's always such a thrill to discover things and try to make sense out of seemingly confusing information and phenomena. I became a scientist by doing it -- getting involved in projects as an assistant, then getting more and more responsibility for planning and completing projects. Like any profession, it requires hard work and commitment. But there's lots of fun along the way.

top of page

Anne Trehu
Professor, Oregon State University

What is your role on this cruise?
I am a seismologist who led a cruise to the Gorda Escarpment last year (May, 1999). The data from this seismic cruise have been used, in conjunction with high resolution seafloor bathymetry obtained by MBARI, to plan the dive sites we will visit during this cruise as well as to locate cores that will be obtained when we are not diving.

What are your primary goals?
To obtain "groundtruth" data to help interpret the seismic data. Samples are needed to reconstruct the geologic history resulting in the seismic patterns.

What do you expect to find?
We are hoping to find evidence for fluids resulting from dissociation of gas hydrates in seafloor gullies that are found adjacent to seismic evidence for gas hydrate in the subsurface. We are hoping to determine the type of rock forming basement ridges in this region by drilling into this rock where the seismic data indicates it should be exposed on the seafloor. We are hoping to obtain samples of older sediments that should have been exposed on the seafloor by erosion in a few spots and which can be traced throughout the region in the seismic data. We hope to integrate information from the samples and the seismic data to reconstruct the history of this region and it possible impact on past climate.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part is being able to get away from the cares of daily life and concentrate on an integrated set of problems related to a single theme. I also enjoy the early stages of planning for and proposing a new project and of interpreting the data from a cruise.

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I never really made a coherent plan to become a scientist. I majored in geology in college because I was interested in the prehistoric anthropology at that point in time when I had to choose a major, and the geology/paleontology department in my college was a better place to study this than the anthropology department. Independent research, including a thesis, was a major component of the undergraduate program at my college, and I ended up finding interesting problems to explore in geophysics. One of my projects led to the chance to go to sea. It's been an ever-changing adventure since then.

top of page

Allen Throop
Oregon State University

What is your role on this cruise?
As an intern my role is to pick up whatever needs to be done.

What are your primary goals?
To learn much more about the methodology of marine geology, the specifics of the geology of the Mendecino Ridge, and how it all relates to plate tectonics. As an adjunct professor at Linfield College, I teach courses in geology related courses to non-science majors. My primary objective is to give the students insight into how the scientific process works and how they can make interpretations of what they read and see about science to their lives.

What do you expect to find?
A whole new world that I know nothing about.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
This is my first cruise!

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I took a geology course during my second year in college. I was fascinated to discover a discipline where I could explore our world, work outside, and make a living at it. I have worked throughout the world but always on land; this should be an excitiing and informative trip for me.

top of page

Paul McGill
MBARI Engineer

What is your role on this cruise?
I'll be running ArcView GIS to establish waypoints and tracklines for the ROV and the ship. During the dives, I'll use ArcView to record the actual positions of the ROV, and the locations of any samples we pick up. I'm also aboard to record some engineering data while the drillsled is in operation.

What are your primary goals?
My goal is to make sure we always know where the ROV is going, and that the ship is never waiting for me to figure out the coordinates of our next destination.

What do you expect to find?
I expect to find that I'll have so much work to do for the dives that I won't get to any of the other projects I'm bringing.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part: No commute and someone else does the cooking.
My least favorite part: Too much food nearby and not enough exercise

What is your job title? Why did you decide to become one? And how did you become one?
I decided to become an electrical engineer when I was in the third grade, and I never wavered from that decision. I always felt sorry for people that reach adulthood and still don't know what they want to do with their life. I'm a true geek and think that MBARI is Disneyland for people like me. Engineering is too hard to do casually - it has to be a passion.

top of page

Bethany Schaarschmidt-Ames
MBARI


top of page

Martin Fisk
Oregon State University


top of page