Research Cruise to Southern Ocean Jan 10th to Feb 25th 2011
February 28, 2011
Starting in Punta Arenas on Jan 14th, we headed out on the RRS James Cook through the Magellan Straits, and down past Tierra Del Fuego. From there we crossed Drake's Passage and started surveying the deep sea for signs of hydrothermal venting in the Bransfield Strait. The area we investigated was a spreading ridge running along the middle of the strait from close to King George Island, towards Livingston and Deception Islands. Alas, damage to our remotely operated vehicle (ROV) ISIS meant that we had to use a more basic towed camera which limited our chances of finding anything. We did discover some limited venting, but decided to return to vents we discovered previously in the Scotia Sea on the East Scotia Ridge, SE of South Georgia. Here we continued to map the unique ecosystems that live at these spectacular geothermal structures 2,400 m (roughly 6 empire state buildings) down. After that we went to a newly discovered caldera (collapsed volcanic crater) near Southern Thule in the South Sandwich Island arc and investigated vents on a newly forming volcanic sub cone. After that we did some benthic surveying off South georgia and then headed back to Punta Arenas. Alas all the underwater pictures are classified at present - but these are the pics I took from above the waves.