National Deep Submergence Facility News

The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason lands on the seafloor at Havre submarine volcano to retrieve a heat flow monitor. (Photo: Multidisciplinary Instrumentation in Support of Oceanography (MISO) Facility, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Scientists Study Largest Underwater Volcanic Eruption

the first up-close investigation of the historic volcanic eruption and reveals several surprises.   “Heading to the site, we were fully prepared to investigate a typical deep-sea explosive eruption,” said Adam Soule, WHOI associate scientist and chief scientist for the National Deep Submergence Facility.   “When we looked at the detailed maps from the AUV, we saw all these bumps on the seafloor and I thought the vehicle’s sonar was acting up,” Soule said. “It turned out that each bump was a giant block of pumice, some of them the size of a van. I had

WHOI scientists used deep-sea vehicles, including Sentry to locate the voyage data recorder (above) from the El Faro on the seafloor 15,000 feet deep. The VDR offers clues to understand why the ship tragically sank in 2015, killing 33 crew members aboard. (Photo: NTSB)

Why Did the El Faro Sink?

and friends.”   “Sentry and the Observation Vehicle were designed for oceanographic research with funds from the National Science Foundation, but they’re also well-suited for the task of ocean search and recovery,” said Adam Soule, chief scientist for the National Deep Submergence Facility at WHOI. “These techniques have been honed during scientific expeditions over many years supported by federal agencies. This is a tremendous example of the unanticipated use of basic research that can be applied to help benefit society.”      (Source: Woods

Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut/Stefan Hendricks

Halls of Higher Learning

observation, computer modeling, technology development, and practical applications to real-world problems. WHOI brings together ocean experts with engineers to build innovative new technologies and tools necessary to advance ocean science.    Since 1964, WHOI has operated the National Deep Submergence Facility, a federally-funded center that designs, builds and operates deep-sea exploration vehicles—Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Jason, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Sentry—for the benefit of the entire U.S. oceanographic community. 

Voyage data recorder next to El Faro mast on ocean floor (Photo: NTSB)

El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder Located

view underwater imagery in real time and to collaborate with the team on the Atlantis.    The autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation and designed and built at WHOI. Managed by WHOI, the Sentry is operated through the National Deep Submergence Facility, a center funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by WHOI. The NDSF operates, maintains, and coordinates the use of deep ocean research vehicles in coordination with the University National

UNOLS Offers Deep-Submergence Training Cruise

research and communication: seafloor-to-ship-to-shore      v. data management, sharing, reporting      vi. science communication   UNOLS said preference will be given to researchers who have significant potential to write proposals to use the National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF) assets Alvin, Jason, or Sentry in the next five years. The group is targeting postdoctoral researchers, assistant professors/scientists with less than seven years since their PhD. A limited number of spaces may be available to advanced PhD students. More established researchers

The autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry (yellow, at left) is prepared for deployment off the stern of the RV Falkor, after a trace-metal CTD instrument package and water sampler is recovered (lower right). Photo credit SOI

New Deep-Sea Vents, Volcanic Activity Found in Mariana Back-Arc

sites known globally. Only three other vents extend deeper than this newly-found vent, detected at a depth of 4230 meters (13,900 feet). The multidisciplinary group used their Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Sentry, operated as part of the National Deep Submergence Facility. Multibeam sonar and chemical and optical sensors were also used to hunt for the new hydrothermal oases on a track that explored a 600-km (400 mile) stretch of Pacific seafloor in the vicinity of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. This region, best known for including the

Atlantis crew members Patrick Neumann and Allison Heater assist in the recovery of Alvin following a test mission. They attach safety lines to support Alvin’s payload basket before it is lifted from the water.

Upgraded Alvin Sub Passes Scientific Sea Trials

bugs in order to make Alvin‘s transfer back to science operations more seamless,” said Girguis. He is chair of the Deep Submergence Science Committee, the group of scientists from universities and organizations across the country who advise on the use of vehicles operated by the National Deep Submergence Facility at WHOI. More than three years after its last research mission, the U.S. Navy-owned Alvin returned to the scene of its last scientific dives in the Gulf of Mexico, as a substantially different vehicle. In a series of dives, pilots and scientists tested the new automatic command-and

Atlantis crew members Patrick Neumann and Allison Heater assist in the recovery of Alvin following a test mission. They attach safety lines to support Alvin’s payload basket before it is lifted from the water. (Photo by Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Upgraded Alvin Sub Passes Scientific Sea Trials

bugs in order to make Alvin‘s transfer back to science operations more seamless," said Girguis. He is chair of the Deep Submergence Science Committee, the group of scientists from universities and organizations across the country who advise on the use of vehicles operated by the National Deep Submergence Facility at WHOI. More than three years after its last research mission, the U.S. Navy-owned Alvin returned to the scene of its last scientific dives in the Gulf of Mexico, as a substantially different vehicle. In a series of dives, pilots and scientists tested the new automatic command-and

The FLIP Side 55 ft. remain visible after the crew of the Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP) partially flood the ballast tanks causing the vessel to turn stern first into the ocean. The 355-ft. research vessel is owned by the Office of Naval Research and is operated by the Marine Physical Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California.  (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

Sailing for Science

(IPS) supports the operation and acquisition of major shared-use oceanographic facilities needed to carry out oceanographic-related research programs.  This includes funding operations and technical services support for numerous facilities such as the Academic Research Fleet, the National Deep Submergence Facility, the National Ocean Science AMS Facility, the Monterey Accelerated Research System Cable Test-bed Facility and the Aloha Cabled Observatory.  IPS also funds the development of new ocean research technology through the Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination (OTIC) Program

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