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Rosette Test

The ENAM Seismic Experiment - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 21:36

 September 15, 2014
Testing one, two, three! We successfully completed a Rosette test of the Scripps acoustic transducers at 4000 meters water depth. We wanted to be sure we could talk to the ocean bottom seismometers once deployed to the bottom of the Atlantic where the pressure is around 40 MPa and the temperature at about 4 °C. The test went smoothly, and now we are ready to deploy! While we were at it, we had a little fun with Styrofoam cups sending them down as well with messages and pictures making styrocasts.

Recovery from the Rosette test (photo credit: Gary Linkevich)
See you later,

Kate Volk aboard the R/V Endeavor 


The ENAM Seismic Experiment - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 20:48
September 14, 2014
Science! At about 20:30 Eastern Time on September 13 we reached our first survey site off the coast of Virginia. While we’re excited to start deploying ocean bottom seismometers, we know that there might be some coral in the area. We don’t want to disturb any wildlife and therefore want to avoid placing an ocean bottom seismometer on any coral. We used 3.5 KHz sound waves to penetrate the subsurface and see what the seafloor looked like in order to find a safe place for the OBS. We surveyed the desired area of deployment and 500 meters in any direction from that location. Overall we surveyed 3 separate locations finishing up about three in morning. 

The science party discussing the recording of the survey. (Photo Credit: Gary Linkevich)
Kate watching the response from the 3.5 KHz chirp. (Photo Credit: Gary Linkevich)Gary, Brandon and Harm looking at the record from the 3.5 KHz chirp survey 

Fall Bucket List: 38 Things Not to Miss - (Rockland, NY) Journal News

Featured News - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 11:00
Young scientists of the world, unite! The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades will hold its annual open house on Oct. 11.

Scientists Use Air Guns off N.C. to Study Continental Rift - Virginian Pilot

Featured News - Sat, 09/13/2014 - 11:00
Scientists plan to profile the ocean bottom off the Outer Banks using sonic blasts to learn more about how the continents broke apart millions of years ago.

R/V Endeavor Cruise Summary

The ENAM Seismic Experiment - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 17:24
September 12, 2014

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:

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.


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.
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