What does an iceberg look like underwater? ROV IceCUBE has recorded several hours of video footage underneath the icebergs being studied in this expedition, and has uncovered surfaces with pockmarks, linear crevices, caves, and jutting spires.
Today was the final day at iceberg C-18A and researchers pushed to collect their last samples before leaving. ROV IceCUBE completed two biology dives for the Robison lab, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
In a light swirling snow, the MOCNESS nets were brought back onto the ship before sunrise this morning. The catch was noticeably different than the night before in both species diversity and overall abundance.
Science activities filled the day and every group busied themselves with sample collection and processing. After an early morning deployment of the shallow towfish, ROV IceCUBE was readied to conduct a biology dive...
Stormy seas with winds gusting more than 45 knots curtailed science operations this morning. As the ship rocked and rolled, the zooplankton team sorted net samples from the late-night tow of the MOCNESS system.
Today we arrived at iceberg B-15L, a long, tabular iceberg similar to C-18A in appearance and size (28km long by 12km wide). We began by circumnavigating around the iceberg to assess its shape and the direction of its drift.
To better characterize the influence of the iceberg on surrounding waters, sampling has been divided into near and far stations. Surface mapping early in the study of iceberg C-18A established a background of typical open ocean parameters, such as temperature and salinity, to help the science team determine these sampling stations.
For a brief few hours today the weather looked favorable for flying the UAV aircraft to drop GPS tags on the iceberg. The seas were smooth and winds had lessened to only a few knots in the lee of the berg, but it was the sun—or lack of it—that interfered.
Today our science sampling went on hold as we made a medical detour for one of the ship’s personnel. The Antarctic region is extremely remote and the ship is prepared with trained medical technicians, supplies, and a link to doctors on shore that can be consulted when issues arise.
This morning began sunny and bright at a location several miles away from C18a, where the CTD was used to collect seawater samples. Ben Twining’s group also deployed gear in this area, testing special trace metal clean water bottles.
Around 10 p.m. last night, we gathered on the bridge in excitement as the ship approached iceberg C18a. The iceberg was a bright red line on the ship’s radar but the wispy fog obscured the powerful spotlights sweeping into the night.
The ship passed around Cape Horn today and began the crossing of the Drake Passage. The temperature has been dropping as we head south. The water near Tierra del Fuego this morning was 9°C and air temperature 21°C (70°F).
After the last lines were thrown off the dock, the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer left the Punta Arenas port and began its transit across the Straits of Magellan to the Argentine coast and into the South Atlantic Ocean.
Research programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) encompass the entire ocean, from the surface waters to the deep seafloor, and from the coastal zone to the open sea. The need to understand the ocean in all its complexity and variability drives MBARI's research and development efforts.