A Marine Educator At Sea

Sea Grant's Bill Hanshumaker chronicles ocean research missions

A Marine Educator At Sea

A Day in Transit

October 20th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, 2011 Crew, Deployment, Seismometers

Following the continental margin, the Wecoma cruised south at about 10 knots for most of the day. The seas picked up slightly, and there were light scattered showers. We deployed another Abalone seismometer at 4:30, and it was on the bottom by 5:30. We will be deploying the last Cascadia seismometer at 1: am.

Chasing rainbows

Thursday’s Sunset

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Thursday Morning

October 20th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, Deployment, Seismometers

The seas are very calm this morning, making for an easy deployment of the Abalone seismometer. We are directly offshore from the mouth of the Columbia River, in a depth of 2678 meters.

Note shipping pallet left on deck

Watersking anyone?

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Off the coast of Washington

October 19th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, Deployment, Missions, Seismometers

Wednesday afternoon, October 19th – Off the coast of Washington at the edge of the continental margin

We just deployed another Cascadia seismometer. It will take 65 minutes to reach the ocean floor, 2630 meters below. It will take another hour to conduct the acoustic survey, as the Wecoma cruises in a kilometer and ½ circle overhead.

Ready to be released

 

Wecoma’s crane is lifting the seismometer over the side

 

It takes at least 5 crew members to deploy a seismometer

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Wednesday’s Sunrise

October 19th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, Deployment, Seismometers

The weather has deteriorated somewhat, but is still serviceable.  We deployed two seismometer last night and another one this morning. Since we are in deeper water, it takes longer for the seismometer to reach the bottom.  A acoustic survey is immediately conducted to determine its exact location in three dimensions; latitude, longitude and depth. The Wecoma circles the seismometer location as the acoustic release sends signals to the ship.

Wednesday’s Sunrise

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A Beautiful Monday at Sea

October 18th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, Deployment, LDEO, Seismometers, SIO

We have traveled north to test two Cascadia seismometers that were deployed earlier during the first leg during July. A specific frequency of sound (between 9 and 13 kilohertz) is sent down to check if the instrument package is working. Sometimes a fishing trawl can flip over the seismometer, rending it useless. If the instrument is working, it responds with a series of audio chirps that are picked up here on the Wecoma.

So far we have deployed five Cascadia and four Abalone seismometers. Another five are scheduled for deployment through the night.

 

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Heading South

October 18th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, Deployment

We’ll be in transit south for the next 8 hours, deploying the next seismometer in the dark.

This is where information such as seismometer depth and location is recorded on board.

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Most Northern Deployment

October 18th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, Deployment

Another Abalone seismometer goes over the side

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Tuesday Sunrise

October 18th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, weather

Off the coast of Vancouver Island

Red sky at morning; sailors take warning

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CTD Cast

October 17th, 2011 · 2 Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, 2011 Crew, CTD, Procedures

CTD stands for conductivity, temperature and depth. These terms refer to the changing seawater characteristics that the CTD array encounters as it descends. It electrically sends continuous measurements back to the ship.

Conductivity is an electrical measurement of salinity. The salinity varies near the surface, but is a reliable 34 to 35 parts per thousand for most of the descent. The seawater temperature drops to about 3 degrees Celsius, about 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

We dropped the cabled CTD to just above the seafloor depth of 1500 meters (4921 feet). The pressure increases about one atmosphere for every 10 meters (or ~33 feet) of depth. We attached to the CTD array two nylon bags filled with Styrofoam cups, decorated by students from the Lincoln County School District. When subjected to pressure 150 times greater than standard atmospheric, the air is squeezed out from the Styrofoam.

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Second Day at Sea

October 16th, 2011 · No Comments · 2011 - R/V Wecoma, 2011 Crew, Deployment, LDEO, SIO

The Abalones are in the foreground; the Cascadians are lined up in the back.

Yesterday, we deployed three seismometers, two “Abalones” from Scripps Institute of Oceanography with the trawl resistant design and one from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) called “Cascadian” which also has an absolute pressure gauge and hydrophone. These seismometers are generally deployed deeper along the continental margin.

 

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