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R/V Endeavor Cruise Summary

The ENAM Seismic Experiment - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:24
September 12, 2014
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It’s a beautiful, sunny day in North Kingstown, RI and the R/V Endeavor bustled with activity as we made the final preparations for our 38-hour transit to Cape Hatteras.  The past two days have been a blur of science meetings, last minute purchases and preparations, and forced suppression of my excitement to be onboard another research cruise. I now stand on the observation deck above the bridge, calmed by the brisk sea breeze rushing through my hair, ready for the tasks required of me in the month to come.

The R/V Endeavor at dock from astern. The OBSs have been loaded onto the fantail. (Photo Credit: Dylan Meyer)Initial science party meeting while still at the dock. (Photo Credit: Dylan Meyer)On the observation deck after getting under way. (Photo Credit: Jennifer Harding)Okay, enough of the fluffy mumbo-jumbo. Let’s get to the good stuff. For those of you who haven’t yet read through the information on the Eastern North American Margin Community Seismic Experiment (ENAM CSE), may we never have to write out that acronym in full again, here’s a summary of our research goals on the R/V Endeavor. Over the next 32 days at sea (or less, if things go well), we have four main tasks:

          -    Perform a survey of the seafloor near three drop sites that are within an essential fish habitat - habitat area of particular concern (EFH-HAPC) off Cape Hatteras to assure proper placement of our equipment.
          -    Test the acoustic release mechanisms for the Ocean Bottom Seismometer (OBS) devices from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), to assure that we can release the OBSs from the seafloor during the recovery process.
          -    Deploy and recover each of the 47 OBSs twice along the four multi-channel seismic (MCS) lines that will be shot by the R/V Langseth.
          -    Perform all the above operations in an efficient and safe manner.

The figure below shows the deployment stations for each of the OBSs and the MCS lines that will be run on the R/V Langseth after deployment.

Bathymetric/topographic map of the region around Cape Hatteras with MCS lines drawn in blue and OBS deployment stations as pink dotsThe expanse of this experiment is absolutely incredible, and I highly suggest that you visit the “About” portion of this blog site as well as the GeoPrisms website:

http://www.geoprisms.org/enam.html

for additional information on the broader scientific goals of the ENAM CSE as well as specifics about the other branches of the experimental plan (MCS array, terrestrial seismic, long-period OBS).

Our scientific party consists of twelve people (2 research scientists, 6 graduate students, and 4 OBS technicians) from institutions spread across the US:

Harm van Avendonk – UT Austin Institute for Geophysics      Research Scientist
Brandon Dugan – Rice University Dept. of Earth Science        Research Scientist
Afshin Aghayan – Oklahoma State University                          Graduate Student
Jennifer Harding – UT Austin Institute for Geophysics            Graduate Student
Pamela Moyer – University of New Hampshire                        Graduate Student
Kathryn Volk – University of Michigan                                     Graduate Student
Dylan Meyer – UT Austin Institute for Geophysics                  Graduate Student
Gary Linkevich – Rice University Dept. of Earth Science        Graduate Student
Ernie Aaron – Scripps Institute of Oceanography                      OBS Technician
Peter Lemmond – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute           OBS Technician
Mark Gibaud – Scripps Institute of Oceanography                    OBS Technician
Dave Dubois – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute                OBS Technician

Research scientists and graduate students of the scientific party aboard the R/V Endeavor. From left to right - Pamela Moyer, Jennifer Harding, Afshin Aghayan, Dylan Meyer, Kathryn Volk, Brandon Dugan, Harm van Avendonk, and Gary Linkevich. (Photo Credit: Gary Linkevich) The scientific party (partial group photo above), assisted by the magnificent crew of the R/V Endeavor, will hopefully start our OBS deployment by Sept. 16th on lines 2 and 3, completing enough of the deployments on Line 2 such that the R/V Langseth can begin shooting as soon as they are on station and their equipment is deployed. From that point, we will recover all the OBSs and redeploy them along lines 1, 4a, and 4b in time for the R/V Langseth to begin shooting those MCS lines sometime on Sept. 30th. The OBSs will then be recovered and the R/V Endeavour will steam back to Quonset Point, arriving some time on or before Oct. 13th (knock on wood).

Before any science could commence, however, we all participated in a mandatory safety lecture and ship orientation. We tried out the “Gumby” Immersion Suits (pictured below), learned the essential emergency procedures, and were introduced to the myriad of safety equipment available on the R/V Endeavor. I have no doubts that the University of Rhode Island has provided us with a superbly safe working and living environment.

Testing out the "Gumby" suits during the safety orientation after getting under way. (Photo Credit: Gary Linkevich)We’ve started our 12-hours on/off shift schedule now and I can already start to feel people falling into a routine. As we steam ahead with the wind from astern and following seas, the scientists on watch make preparations, calculations, and estimations aimed at improving our efficiency, while those off watch read, rest, and relax in anticipation of their next watch. The sun is shining, the seas are calm, and everyone is excited to get to work.

Till next time,
Dylan Meyer aboard the R/V Endeavor

Graceful, Tiny, Toothy Ancestors

Geopoetry - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 09:00
An artist's illustration of the tree-dwelling mammal Xianshou songae (by Zhao Chuang). The discovery of three new Jurassic species suggests that mammals evolved earlier and diversified more rapidly thank previously thought.

An artist’s illustration of the tree-dwelling mammal Xianshou songae (illustration by Zhao Chuang). The discovery of three new Jurassic species suggests that mammals evolved earlier and diversified more rapidly than previously thought.

 

With body spry, tail curly,

This mammal showed up early.

Did Xianshou squeak?

If bones could speak …

These might say “I’m squirrely!”

 

 

________________________________

Further reading:

Chisel-toothed beasts push back origin of mammals, National Geographic

Three new Jurassic euharamiyidan species reinforce early divergence of mammals, Nature

This is one in a series of poems written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

 

 

Report: Trees in Trouble in the West - (Montana) Great Falls Tribune

Featured News - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:00
Cites climate research by Lamont's Park Williams.

Urban Waste Threatens Fisheries in Arabian Sea - Telegraph India

Featured News - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 09:37
Cites new research led by Lamont's Helga Gomes and Joaquim Goes.

Stunning Emerald Green Arabian Sea May Herald Ecosystem Disaster - LiveScience

Featured News - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:34
A new study in Nature Communications led by Lamont's Helga Gomes and Joaquim Goes documents a massive shift at the base of the Arabian Sea food chain.

A Texas-sized Dead Zone Threatens 120 Million People - Quartz

Featured News - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:00
Summary of study led by Lamont's Helga Gomes and Joaquim Goes.

Can Carbon Capture Technology Be Part of the Climate Solution? - Yale e360

Featured News - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 11:00
Cites carbon capture research of Lamont's Peter Eisenberger and David Goldberg.

Dreadnoughtus

Geopoetry - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 07:00
 Jennifer Hall

An artist’s vision of how Dreadnoughtus schrani would have appeared. Credit: Jennifer Hall

 

If you, like me, are something of a paleo-romantic,

Swooning over dinosaurs both fearsome and gigantic,

Come feast your eyes on new reports the bone-hunters have brought us:

“Fearing nothing” means its name – the mighty beast Dreadnoughtus!

Seven times as heavy as Tyrannosaurus rex,

This gentle vegan creature boasted tons of muscle flex.

Patagonian earth under its massive feet would quake,

What a silhouette at dawn a family would make!

Even ‘mongst Titanosaurids, this one breaks the ceiling,

A shoulder blade as tall as I am – God, it sets me reeling.

On top of that, when this one died, it wasn’t yet mature …

How much more would it have grown? We can not be quite sure.

3D-scanning, high-tech models try to help us see one,

But why were creatures bigger then? What was it like to be one?

Children are the best at this, working on all fours,

Today, I think I’ll try it too: fear nothing, shake the floors!

 

____________________________________________

Further reading:

Giant dinosaur unearthed in Argentina, Science SHOT

A Gigantic, Exceptionally Complete Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from Southern Patagonia, Argentina, Nature

New “Dreadnought” Dinosaur Most Complete Specimen of a Giant, Scientific American

This is one in a series of poems written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

Waste Injection Well Owner Says Shutdown Would Harm Industry - Youngstown Vindicator

Featured News - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 13:19
The Northstar 1 brine injection well in Youngstown, Ohio, was closed after a series of earthquakes. Lamont-Doherty researchers later linked the tremors to the injection of waste fracking fluid underground.

California's 100-year Drought - USA Today

Featured News - Wed, 09/03/2014 - 08:34
Lamont's Park Williams and Ed Cook comment on California's prolonged drought.

American Southwest Faces a Megadrought - Modern Farmer

Featured News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 16:38
Lamont's Jason Smerdon and Richard Seager quoted.

Atlantis Seeks Sunken Science in Coastal Waters - Chinook Observer

Featured News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 11:00
Cites an upcoming research expedition led by Lamont's Suzanne Carbotte.

'Megadrought' Risk up to 50 percent, Scientists Say - Arizona Daily Star

Featured News - Sat, 08/30/2014 - 11:00
Lamont's Jason Smerdon comments on a new study upping the odds of a long-term drought across the Southwest.

Climate Change Ups Odds of a Southwest Megadrought - Climate Central

Featured News - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 11:00
Lamont's Jason Smerdon comments on a new study showing that climate change is increasing the odds of long-term drought in the Southwest.

Erosion, Then Explosion

Geopoetry - Fri, 08/29/2014 - 09:00
 Peters & Gaines, Nature, 2012

Illustration: Peters & Gaines, Nature, 2012

When viewing The Great Unconformity,
The result of a vast denudation,
One feels a new sense of enormity …
And above it lie critters crustacean!
Life during this wild explosion,
For armor, developed affinity.
Whence the new ions? Erosion!
Gooey life — meet alkalinity!

______________________________

Further reading:

Formation of the “Great Unconformity” as a trigger for the Cambrian explosion, Shanan E. Peters & Robert R. Gaines, Nature, 2012

This is one in a series of poems written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

What Caused California's Napa Earthquake? - LiveScience

Featured News - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:00
Lamont-Doherty seismologist Felix Waldhauser comments on the magnitude 6 earthquake that struck Northern California on Sunday.

Faint Young Sun

Geopoetry - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 09:31
  Science online, J.F. Kasting

Image: Science online, J.F. Kasting

 

Through an ancient looking-glass,
Perhaps you’d see more H2 gas,
And if with denser gas collided,
Greater greenhouse warmth provided.
With faint young sun, would this suffice
To maintain water and not ice?
And when methanogens arrive?
This old debate is much alive.

_____________________________

Further reading:

Hydrogen-Nitrogen Greenhouse Warming in Earth’s Early Atmosphere, Wordsworth and Pierrehumbert, Science, 2013

This is one in a series of poems written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University

Epic Drought in West is Literally Moving Mountains - Climate Central

Featured News - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 08:47
Lamont-Doherty seismology klaus Jacob comments on a new study showing that California's extended drought has raised the landscape nearly half an inch in the last 18 months.

Reflections of a Changing North

Greenland Thaw: Measuring Change - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 07:48
View from our small Poco 500 fishing boat as we skirted through the ice to collect samples. (Photo M. Turrin)

View from our small Poco 500 fishing boat as we skirted through the ice to collect samples. (Photo M. Turrin)

No one ever leaves the field the same way they entered it. Yes there is a new layer of mud on equipment, the expected wear and tear on your personal gear and your physical being, but that is not what I am referring to. I am acknowledging the intangible shift in perspective from a deepened understanding and a broadened vision that has been provided by the experience and beyond that the questions that drive the next field campaign.

Fishing and hunting is still the main livelihood of the Kullorsuaq community.  This type of small Poca 500 with a hand winch was what we found along the waterfront. (Photo M. Turrin)

Fishing and hunting is still the main livelihood of the Kullorsuaq community. This type of small Poca 500 with a hand winch was what we found along the waterfront. (Photo M. Turrin)

The end of any field campaign is bittersweet. The adrenaline rush of the data collection phase slows to a more normal rhythm of daily life. There is a change from an unwavering focus on the many details of the project with a hard push day after day to extract as much out of the field time as possible, to a position of intense reflection. Was the campaign a success? Were we able to accomplish what we had hoped? Did we come away with the data we wanted? What did we learn? Should this project be repeated? or adjusted? perhaps expanded?

Our Reflections –

The Kullorsuaq waterfront. (Photo M. Turrin)

The Kullorsuaq waterfront. (Photo M. Turrin)

Establishing Connections

Our fledgling partnership has shown there is both a willingness and an interest among the local Greenlandic to work with scientists in collecting measurements. There is an aptitude for working with the instruments and a desire by them for the collected data on temperatures at depth in their local fjords to build a broader understanding of their environment. Both the science team and the Greenlandic fishermen see this data as important to planning for the future.  They are hopeful it will provide them insights to direct their fishing practices, which in this traditional community remains their main livelihood. We are hopeful it will provide evidence of processes driving change in the Greenland tidewater glaciers.

The Kullorsuaq fishermen are seen moving through the water at all times of the day and night. While we were there fishing conditions were difficult and fishermen were traveling well south to drop their lines. (Photo M. Turrin)

The Kullorsuaq fishermen are seen moving through the water at all times of the day and night. While we were there fishing conditions were difficult and fishermen were traveling well south to drop their lines. (Photo M. Turrin)

The Kullorsuaq fishermen have told and showed us that they will adapt to change in the north. We can help them adapt by providing them information that assists their choices and adjustments.

Deeper Understanding

Alison Glacier flows into Melville Bay just behind the rocky foot of Kullorsuaq (visible at the top of this photo). The bits of ice debris are loosely jumbled at this distance from the glacier front unlike at the mouth where they are densely packed. (Photo M. Turrin)

Alison Glacier flows into Melville Bay just behind the rocky foot of Kullorsuaq (visible at the top of this photo). The bits of ice debris are loosely jumbled at this distance from the glacier front unlike at the mouth where they are densely packed. (Photo M. Turrin)

When we arrived in this small community there were no water temperature measurements inside the fjords for this  area of Greenland.  We hoped to collect water column data that would tell us if this northwest corner of Greenland was being affected in the same way as other parts of Greenland, with warm Atlantic Water flowing in at depth. Bathymetry (bottom depth) measurements did not exist in this section of Greenland’s coastline and it turned out the area was much deeper than we had expected. When we planned the project the little data that is available showed depths of 400m, yet we lowered our instrument approximately 500 meters and only three of our casts reached bottom. The Kullorsuoq fishermen told us that in front of the glacier it is over twice this depth which they have learned from lowering their fishing line.

A preliminary look at one of our data casts shows the temperature dropping and then warming as the depth increases, a result of intersecting the different water masses. (Credit D. Porter)

A preliminary look at one of our data casts shows the temperature dropping and then warming as the depth increases, a result of intersecting the different water masses. (Credit D. Porter)

While we were not able to get data the full extent of the water column the measurements we collected confirmed that, as in other areas of Greenland, warm surface water (>4°C) is layered on top of colder fresh Polar Water (<-1.5°C), and below this, from about 200 m (700 ft.) and below, flows warmer Atlantic Water. As our equipment didn’t allow us to go the full water depth we don’t know how warm it  gets, but we know it exceeded 1.7°C and was still rising at the depth of the cast. This warm deep water is affecting glaciers like Alison that sit in deep fjord troughs by melting the ice at the base of the glacier, causing weakening and retreat.

Moving Forward

Map of the series of casts completed in front of Alison Glacier and Hayes Glacier to the north. Red was day 1 of sampling, Green was day 2.  (Credit D. Porter)

Map of the series of casts completed in front of Alison Glacier and Hayes Glacier to the north. Red was day 1 of sampling, Green was day 2. (Credit D. Porter)

Our sampling plan was adjusted to deal with the ice conditions in the field. We had to shift our collection points to work around the mélange in front of glacier. We focused the first day (shown in red) on getting as close to the ice front as possible, collecting a ‘transect’ or line of measurements, and surveying the smaller channels. Day 2 (shown in green) we extended the transect from day 1, tested for pathways to the outer shelf, and tested one of Hayes Glacier (just north of Alison) outlets paths, and collected some repeat measurements from Day 1 to see how conditions vary with time and tides.

Moving through the water to collect more samples is done by boat for summer sampling, but the conditions will be very different in the winter when dog sledges will be needed. (Photo M. Turrin)

Moving through the water to collect more samples is done by boat for summer sampling, but the conditions will be very different in the winter when dog sledges will be needed. (Photo M. Turrin)

We have plenty of data to analyze but in the future collecting data in other seasons and locations would be beneficial. According to our Greenlandic partners getting winter measurements in Kullorsuaq is possible using their dog sledges to move the instrument. Early spring would offer interesting conditions as well. The local fishermen are anxious to continue to work with us, and we hope to be able to continue and build on this partnership.

It is always bittersweet to leave an area where you have built connections and learned so much.  (photo M. Turrin)

It is always bittersweet to leave an area where you have built connections and learned so much, but we look forward to more opportunity to work together. (photo M. Turrin)

Qujanoq (kwee-yan-ok) to our new Greenlandic friends – Thank you.

Project Information: Dave Porter and Margie Turrin were in northwest Greenland working with local community members to collect water column temperature profiles. The Leveraging Local Knowledgeproject will work with members of local Greenlandic communities to collect water measurements in the fjords. This will assist in determining if warming Atlantic Ocean water is circulating up through Baffin Bay where it enters the fjords to lap against the frozen glacier footholds, causing them to loosen their hold on the rock below. Alison Glacier (74.37N and 56.08W) is selected as the project focus. Emptying into Melville Bay to the east of Kullorsuaq Island and has been undergoing dramatic change over the last decade.

The project is funded by the Lamont Climate Center with support from the NASA Interdisciplinary Program and logistical support from NSF.

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~dporter/Kullorsuaq/

As Messenger Nears Crash Landing on Mercury, Scientists Race to Collect Data - Baltimore Sun

Featured News - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:00
"We've had a lot of bonuses on this mission," said Lamont-Doherty director Sean Solomon, principal investigator of NASA's Messenger mission to Mercury. "We're in new territory for spacecraft."
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