Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Brewer Expedition
August 10 - August 17, 2006

August 11, 2006
Arrival and First ROV Dive


Peter Walz Working Under the ROV.
The Western Flyer arrived at its Barkley Canyon destination at approximately 9:30am this morning with clear weather and calm seas. After some initial preparatory work, the first dive was attempted at 10:30am, only to be aborted within thirty minutes due to dangerously high humidity readings inside DORISS’s titanium pressure casing. If the moisture content was indeed at the levels indicated on the sensor, in deep sea temperature conditions, the vapor would condense and adversely affect the electronic components contained within. The readings, however, were a false alarm, as the chamber was completely evacuated and filled with dry nitrogen gas only to maintain the same high humidity readings. Thereafter, these outputs were calibrated to disregard the inflated values.

Our dive today was ultimately successful in exploring the canyon site, examining some hydrate samples, and calibrating the laser Raman system in situ. We were able to find exposed outcrops even larger than the ROV in size and attempted to drill out samples using our coring tool with limited success. The manipulator arm was able to break off some moderately-sized pieces and place them into a Pyrex viewing chamber with an open bottom. The ROV then lifted back towards the surface to determine the decomposition depth (pressure/temperature) of the methane hydrates.

Finally, the DORISS laser was calibrated at depths ranging from 850 to 200 meters for wavelength and intensity. Tomorrow, we will begin a more thorough investigation of the site, including using PUP (Precision Underwater Positioner) for fine-tuned focusing on the exposed hydrate.


Sampling the Exposed Hydrate

Melting the Collected Hydrate in a Pyrex Container.


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