Day 6

Day 6 (92° 29.194 W, 29° 06.873 N): The R/V Cape Hatteras with scientists and crew began their long steam to the transects off the mouth of the Atchafalaya around 1300, arriving near the first transect around 0200. Everyone was very excited to see if there was much difference between the southwest pass erodability and flood deposits.

Day 4 & 5

Day 4: Smooth sailing thus far since we started coring and sampling at 9 pm yesterday, the 0000 to 1200 shift managed to get ahead of schedule. The GUST system that CCU students Preston O’Brien-Gayes and Kyle St Clair operated went excellently. The data coming in looked good taking into account the whole night watch had been up since 0700 the night before for the most part this is quite a feat to be running at such a high rate after 24 hours working. The sites kept rolling in and minimal equipment failure or problems occurred.

Day 1,2 & 3

Day 1 (the Interstate): 12 hour drive from Conway, South Carolina to Biloxi, Mississippi. Arrived to Gulfport, Mississippi and loaded duffle bags and personal bags onto the R/V Cape Hatteras.


Well, we docked in Gulfport, Mississippi this morning at about 8 am.  We never thought that Mississippi could look so good!  A month at sea is a long time by any standards, even those of the crew.  Speaking of the crew, we’d like to take a minute and say how great the crew of the R/V Atlantis really is.  They work with a sense of professional pride, and are always eager to assist.  The food was great, the crew was hospitable, and we got a ton of great work accomplished.  Huge thanks go out to the crew and the Alvin team for making this cruise an incredible success! 

Oil spill site and Rich's dive

Well, we are in the final stretch of the cruise and for the past two days have been on site in the vicinity of the oil spill. Today’s dive was scheduled to be about 2 miles from the Macondo well head, but the weather just did not cooperate. Yesterday’s dive was a success, however, with Mandy Joye and Richard Harris (NPR) visiting the bottom about 8.6 miles from the damaged oil well. They took several sediment cores that had evidence of oil precipitate in a thin layer at the top.

Thanksgiving at sea

Happy Thanksgiving from the R/V Atlantis! Today was business as usual for the crew and science party aboard the vessel. We did have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with Turkey and all the usual sides, but Alvin dove and samples were processed just like any other day during this cruise.

Orca Basin

For the past four days, we have been sitting atop a site named Orca Basin.  This is a large crater-like feature on the seafloor that has accumulated dense, salty brine fluid inside.  This brine layer has been observed up to 250 m thick, and sampling it has been rather exciting.  We lower a CTD rosette with 23 Niskin bottles (10 L each) on a wire from the ship into this layer.  The Niskin bottles are positioned vertically on the rosette (see Rich posing with the rosette below), so as the rosette descends, the water flows up through the bottles.  We can then remotely trigger each of the Niski

Hot Site

Rich Viso here to update you on what is happening out here on the R/V Atlantis. The last couple of days have been quite interesting as we continue to hit our dive targets heading eastward. Right now we are in water depth of about 700 meters. The DSV Alvin is presently on the bottom with the chief scientist, Mandy Joye and Lisa Nigro from UNC Chapel Hill. They are collecting push cores at an active mud volcano called ‘Hot Site’. Many of the cores and some of the brine fluid that has been recovered so far contain large concentrations of hydrocarbons that are easily seen and have

Alvin diving!

Rick Peterson back at the keyboard for this blog update.  Things have been busy here aboard the Atlantis this week, as expected.  We’ve been on our first station for four days now.  The daily schedule consists of an Alvin dive during the day (during which time nothing else can go in the water), and so water and sediment sampling during the night.  That leaves us collecting samples throughout the early part of the night, then processing and measuring them throughout the rest of the night and the next morning.  Rich has taken over responsibility of mapping the seafloor, so a

Sample collection and Alvin dives begin

Greetings everyone! Rich Viso here reporting from the R/V Atlantis. Rick Peterson and I continue to have a great experience. We are set up to measure radium and radon in the wet lab located on the aft portion of the starboard side of the ship. There are double doors with windows at the aft end of our lab and the manned submersible Alvin is right on the other side of the doors, no more than five feet away.


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