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Joint USGS-Monterey Bay Aquarium Cruise

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cutting cores
Cutting Cores: Courtney Schupp and Jeffrey Nealon of the WHFC cutting cores for geochemical testing aboard the R/V Cape Hatteras.
A most successful joint cruise between the USGS and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), funded by the Department of Energy, was recently carried out from July 20-29 aboard the R/V Cape Hatteras of Duke University. The purpose was to collect piston cores in and around a collapse depression on the crest of the Blake Ridge, off the coast of South Carolina. The collapse overlies a well-documented region of gas-hydrate deposits and is inferred to be related to gas-hydrate dynamics that control seafloor mass movements and the transfer of methane from the gas-hydrate reservoir to the atmosphere, where it is a powerful greenhouse gas. The objectives were to establish the origin and age of the collapse structure and to assess the possibility of continuing fluid venting.

Tom Lorenson (Menlo Park) and Charlie Paull (MBARI) were the Chief Scientists. Tom O'Brien (WHFC) was in charge of collecting superb quality high-resolution seismic data using the ship's transducer array, and Jeff Nealon and Courtney Schupp completed the WHFC contingent.

Coring was operated from 6 a.m. to midnight and seismic profiling of the sites from midnight to 6 a.m. Thirty-three piston cores and 14 gravity (trigger) cores were recovered during the cruise, much more than had been anticipated. This was accomplished despite the interruption of operations to bring the ship toward shore to pick up additional core pipe and a trigger weight from a smaller boat that was sent out from the Duke Lab. (Two trigger cores and a trigger weight had been lost, creating some unwanted excitement.) The longest core was almost 15 m in length. All together, 240 m of piston-core samples were collected.

Extensive shipboard sampling was undertaken from the piston-core sections. About 240 samples were squeezed for pore-water chemistry studies. Selected samples were collected for microbiology, sulfur isotopes, percent water, hydrocarbon analysis, volatile organic acids, carbon-14, stable carbon isotopes, and sulfur isotopes. Seven whole cores were preserved for detailed stratigraphy that will be carried out by Clay Kelly at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as part of the USGS/WHOI cooperative agreement. Nine sections of core from three sites were specially sealed and stored upright for shore-based physical property measurements in Bill Winters' lab at the USGS WHFC.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
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Biscayne Nat'l Park Corals

Santa Monica Bay

Salvage for Science

Joint USGS—Monterey Aquarium Cruise

Outreach Teachers Tour WHFC

Students Tour WHFC

West Falmouth Harbor Water Sampling

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NOAA Data Integration

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New Babies in Western Region

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