Update on NOAA Expedition in the Indian Ocean

This is a perspective view of the Kawio Barat (West Kawio) seamount looking from the northwest. The underwater volcano rises around 3,800 meters from the seafloor. Credit: Image courtesy of INDEX 2010: "Indonesia-USA Deep-Sea Exploration of the Sangihe Talaud Region."

The join Indonesia – U.S. exploration of the deep ocean north of Sulawesi, Indonesia mapped the large undersea volcano Kawio Barat.  From base to summet Kawio Barat measures 10,000 feet but its summit still remains 8,000 feet below the surface. The expedition also utilizing telepresence to connect researchers on land to the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer.  Researchers at the Exploration Command Centers in Jakarta and Seattle can interact with shipboard personnel to guide the expedition via live satellite and high-speed internet. You can catch the expedition at oceanexplorer.noaa.gov in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. The site includes logs from scientists at sea and ashore, images from the expedition, and expedition education lesson plans.

Close-up imagery showing barnacles covering sulphur structures on Kawio Barat volcano. Their tentacles, or ‘cirri,’ extended like blooming flowers, then folded back into the shell. The white fluff on the cirri are filaments of bacteria that grow in the passing vent water. The barnacles hold them out to improve growth then, apparently, withdraw to “lick their fingers.” Credit: Image courtesy of INDEX 2010: "Indonesia-USA Deep-Sea Exploration of the Sangihe Talaud Region."

Dr. M (1714 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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