On September 8, a research team led by University of Hawaii scientist Jim Cowen will set sail from
Seattle, WA on a 12-day expedition. (Dive site)
Their mission is to explore the biosphere of the sediment-buried basement (part of the ocean crust)
on the flanks of the Juan de Fuca Ridge system, over 2.5 miles below the ocean surface.
The scientists will sail aboard the 274-foot research vessel
R/V Atlantis to
their dive site in the Pacific and then descend to the seafloor in the famous deep sea submersible DSV Alvin. Both vessels are
operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Cowen’s team joins another team of geophysicists, hydrogeologists and geochemists from several US and
Canadian institutions. The researchers will be investigating fluids piped from deep boreholes, drilled by the IODP
(Integrated Ocean Drilling Program). Cowen’s expedition will be the first to utilize new, clean sampling techniques,
delivering near-pristine hydrothermal fluids to a seafloor observatory from hot basalt rock, hundreds of meters below.