12 Feb – East Scotia Ridge expedition blog – week 4

Frame grab from SHRIMP footage of 3-metre high active chimney

Vent Discovery in Adventure Caldera

Friday night in the SHRIMP* van and we have been videoing the seafloor for three hours inside the Adventure Caldera, which geophysicists from the British Antarctic Survey discovered in 2010.

Leigh Marsh, Graduate School NOCS marine biology PhD student was leading the watch in the van when she suddenly spotted a large wall of bacterial mat looming ahead in the low light camera. She turned the pan and tilt camera to see clusters of tall chimneys with shimmering water flowing up into the dark.

Leigh Marsh aboard RRS James Cook

Leigh immediately grabbed the phone and yelled “stop the ship, stop the ship” to the Master on the bridge and called the entire science party into the van. Chief Scientist Paul Tyler shouted with delight when he saw the images from the seafloor. We spent the next hour videoing the vent field from all angles with SHRIMP but unfortunately couldn’t collect any samples of this intriguing new discovery. “I will never forget the night that I discovered my first vent field” says Leigh.

For more details on our voyage and links for Schools see www.thesearethevoyages.net/jc55.

*SHRIMP – (the Seabed High Resolution IMaging Platform) which is towed near the seafloor and the video fed back to the control van aboard the ship.