Today was another very busy day of dredging and processing rocks, but before all that started, Dan Fornari and the 12-4 watch finished another run with the Tow Cam early this morning. The Tow Cam’s latest target was a caldera just south of the Galapagos Spreading Center, and some wondered if its proximity to the spreading center might result in hydrothermal activity in the area. Sure enough, several Tow Cam photos revealed signs of geothermal – as evidenced by a rusty orange discoloration on the seafloor. Although the turbidity and temperature sensors on the rig did not indicate any current hydrothermal activity, Dan and others are fairly convinced that some sort of low-temperature activity has occurred in the caldera at some point – a pretty exciting and interesting discovery.
Aside from that, we’ve been making our way from dredge site to dredge site, pulling in four already today, with another one planned for later tonight. The day’s first three dredges were all successful, giving us plenty of rock samples and glass to chip away at. Unfortunately the dredge we pulled in a couple hours ago was our first dud dredge, leaving us with nothing but a pile of sediment. Despite the minor disappointment of a lame dredge, 22 successful dredges out of 23 is definitely nothing to complain about.
Below: Mike and Will working together chipping glass from dredge 22
At today’s science meeting Stuart Banks, from the Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos, gave us a presentation on all the complexities of trying to monitor and protect the biodiversity of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. It was sad to hear about species that have been threatend due to El Nino events and fishing pressure, but also very interesting to hear Stuart speak about everything that goes into monitoring and policy decision-making.
Below: Staurt Banks seen giving us a presentation on the biodiversity of the Galapagos Marine Reserve
In other news, Mike’s sunglasses that mysteriously disappeared were recovered, and Gretchen got covered in mud.
Below: Gretchen and others searching for rocks within a muddy dredge
Below: Gretchen posing by her dredge
Check out our interview with Melissa Turner, the ships 2nd Mate! Click here to view.