Emerson Jr. High School (CA)

Send us your questions with email to: VentsProgramAtSea@gmail.com
(Please identify your school in the email-thanks!)

A Selection of Questions from Skype on Tuesday Sept 10 with Dr. Bill Chadwick of Oregon State University and graduate student Elisa Baumgardt of University of North Carolina, Wilmington:

1. Your blog says that ROV Jason is going to be on a 5 day dive, does it stay down there all night?
Bill Chadwick: Yes, the ROV works around the clock. We have limited time on the cruise and it’s very expensive to do a cruise like this so we maximize our time here by working in shifts of four hours on duty, 8 hours off, 4 hours on again and then off for another 8 hours. This keeps things moving 24/7.

2. How cold is it at the sea floor?
The water temperature on the ocean floor is about 2-3 °C (35 F), so it’s very cold there, but the vents can be close to boiling temperature, which is about 340°C at the ocean floor because the pressure is so much higher there.

3. What made you want to study at Axial Seamount in the first place?
Axial Seamount is the most active volcano in the northeast Pacific Ocean and with the active hydrothermal vents, we can come here and study the geology of the volcano, microbiology of the vents, chemistry of the water and now the possibility of developing energy from the hot fluids coming from the vents. Axial Seamount is also one of the sites for a cabled network of instruments that will have power and communications through cables being laid on the ocean floor now. This network would allow data to be received on shore in near-real time.

4. What type of volcano is the Axial Seamount- is it like Hawaii or Iceland?
Bill Chadwick: Axial is like both of those volcanoes; all three have basalt composition lavas which are very smooth and can flow long distances. Axial is like Iceland because it’s a hot spot perched on a spreading center. All three volcanoes have rift zones and summit calderas too.