Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Seamounts 2007
June 17 - June 25, 2007

June 25, 2007 (Day 9) Final Day

Jenny writes: We steamed back out to Davidson Seamount last night after our dive in Monterey Bay, somewhat desperately optomistic that the weather would improve as forecasted. Naturally, this morning it was too rough to deploy the ROV. We dropped four ROVgravity cores into flat, smooth valleys at Davidson Seamount. We hoped to get 10-foot long sediment cores full of planktonic foraminifera whose shells can be analyzed for information about the temperature and productivity of the California Current in the past. The cores we got here, unfortunately, were pretty short and gravelly, but were foram-rich.

Then, the final blow of the expedition struck. Rough seas, high winds, sea sickness, navy operations, a stopped up sewer line, a clogged fuel injector for one of the engines...none of those had stopped us from trying to do our field work. But today, a hydraulic line that operates the ship's cranes and A-frame blew. We could no longer core. The Tiburon's cranes run off the same system, so a dive here or in the Bay on our way in would be out of the question. So we are headed in to Moss Landing, in surrender. We should arrive early tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Despite the shortened dive schedule, the corals that were collected at Pioneer, Davidson, and in Monterey Bay cover nearly the entire depth range that the geochemists desired. Our group got a tantalyzing glimpse of the lava pond on Davidson Seamount. But the secrets of the volcanoes of the Patton Escarpment will have to wait for another field season. We wish to thank, profusely, the Captain and crew for working so hard, under such adverse conditions, to make this cruise successful.

The gravity corer is repositioned from the work deck to its cradle on the well-deck for deployment.

The core swings at the stern of the ship, on its way down to the seafloor over 1500 meters below the ship. The return trip will take a couple hours.

Jenny and Kathie are sub-sampling the sediment caught in the core-catcher.

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