Tumon Bay, Guam
After months of preparation, we left Guam this morning on the R/V Thompson headed to NW Rota-1 volcano where we will be making dives with the Jason ROV or the next 2 weeks. The first thing we will do is to deploy transponders (acoustic beacons that help Jason keep track of its location on the seafloor). Next we will resurvey NW Rota-1 with the ship's multibeam sonar system to look for any depth changes since our last survey in 2006. A previous comparison between bathymetric surveys in 2003 and 2006 showed up to 40 m of depth change from the accumulation of deposits downslope of the eruptive vent. After that, we will collect the first of many tows with a CTDO (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth, Optical) sensor, an instrument package that shows us if there is an eruptive plume above the summit and/or any deeper turbidity plumes from any recent landsliding of eruptive deposits down the flanks (both of which we have seen during previous visits). Finally, we will make our first dive with the Jason ROV to see what the volcano is doing now. Will it be erupting? Or slumbering? We all hope it will be the former, but won't know until then.
University of Guam Student Visit:
Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe, a deep-sea vent animals expert (University of Victoria), discusses the upcoming expedition with the students in the Computer Lab of the R/V Thompson (above). Dr. Bob Embley (NOAA Vents Program) who has been studying the geology of this area with ROVs and sonar systems since 2003, arranged the visit with Dr. Ernie Matson of the University of Guam Marine Lab.