The fifth Alvin dive, No. 4865 / La quinta inmersión del Alvin, No. 4865

Today’s dive team continues the exploration of Ringvent; Alvin is piloted by Pat, and the science observers are Ryan Sibert of Univ. of Georgia, Athens, and Min Song from China, currently of Bremen University, Germany. Ryan is a seasoned science observer who has been through eventful and unforgettable deployments in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago, and Min is a beautifully poised and composed Alvin initiate. El equipo de inmersión de hoy continúa la exploración del Ringvent; el Alvin es pilotado por Pat, y los observadores científicos son Ryan Sibert de la Universidad de Georgia y Min Song de China, actualmente de la Universidad de Bremen, Alemania. Ryan es un experimentado observador científico que ha pasado por despliegues llenos de acontecimientos e inolvidables exploraciones en el Golfo de México desde hace dos años, y Min es iniciada formidablemente en equilibrio y compostura para visitar el Alvin.

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Heatflow measurements of the western Ringvent area continue; while the outer sedimented margin is quite cold, Alvin finds the entrance to a small gully that cuts eastward into the gradually rising slope of Ringvent. At the head of this gully, Alvin runs into steep slopes of carbonate flanges,  Beggiatoa mats [growing on carbonate slabs] and active hydrothermal seepage with temperatures above 70C [see below], even hotter than what we found on the previous dive. Las mediciones de flujo de calor de la zona occidental del Ringvent continúan; mientras que el margen externo sedimentado es bastante frío, el Alvin encuentra la entrada a un pequeño barranco que corta hacia el este en la cuesta gradualmente ascendente del Ringvent. En la cabecera de este barranco, el Alvin corre a pendientes pronunciadas de filos de carbonato, esteras de Beggiatoa [creciendo sobre placas de carbonato] e infiltraciones hidrotermales activas con temperaturas por encima de 70C, incluso más caliente que la que encontramos en la inmersión anterior.screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-3-55-10-pm

The animal fauna changes quickly as Alvin approaches an active seep site; with increasing frequency, the bottom camera of Alvin captures closeup images of tube worms, small crabs, and peculiar purple clumps that remain for now unidentified.

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-3-40-22-pmsmThis very successful dive returns early, since we are heading towards Guaymas Port to pick up the emergency packets and parts of the shipment from Bremen, Germany – whatever has been released up to this point.  The shipment has just arrived by truck from Manzanillo [1 box of 16] and Guadalajara [11 boxes of 28], plus some emergency boxes that the Atlantis’ agent, well-known Vasile Tudoran, has driven from California across the border. Finally, the local customs officials could be persuaded to work a little longer although their Christmas party was about to start at 17:00. At last, the Pilot boat is loading the surviving pieces; science crew members are ecstatic once they recognize one or the other of their favorite boxes on photos that have been emailed ahead. The only difficulty is that the boat has to wait for the fog to lift; we stand by and hope for the best. img_0728     Este buceo muy exitoso regresa temprano, ya que nos dirigimos hacia el Puerto de Guaymas para recoger los paquetes de emergencia y partes del envío desde Bremen, Alemania – lo que haya sido liberado hasta este punto. El cargamento acaba de llegar en camión desde Manzanillo [1 caja de 16] y desde Guadalajara [11 cajas de 28], además de algunas cajas de emergencia que el agente de la Atlántida, el conocido Vasile Tudoran, ha conducido de California a través de la frontera. Por último, los funcionarios de aduanas locales podrían ser persuadidos a trabajar un poco más, aunque su fiesta de Navidad estaba a punto de comenzar a las 17:00. Por fin, la lancha está cargando las piezas sobrevivientes. Los miembros de la tripulación de científicos están eufóricos una vez reconocen una que otra de sus cajas favoritas en las fotos que se han enviado por adelantado. La única dificultad es que el barco tiene que esperar a que la niebla se levante. Esperamos que todo salga bien.  

Postscriptum: The shipment turns out to be less generous than expected; Mexican Customs has released only fairly basic stuff, of course welcome but still not the real deal. In addition, some of the emergency packages – freshly sent form Germany and Woods Hole – have disappeared without a trace, leaving some researchers and also the engineers on the ship high and dry, and forcing us to move from plan B to plan C. The Atlantis is still running, but the overall outcome of this episode resembles the battle of Jutland – high expectations on all sides but very little achieved.

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