Milestones

The past few days saw us reach 2 huge milestones on our scientific journey. First, on Wednesday we crossed the Mid-Atlantic Ridge! This marks where the South American and African plates are spreading apart. I decided that was the perfect day to distribute  UTIG (University of Texas Institute for Geophysics) t-shirts to the science party.

ridge_crossing
Bathymetry across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Blue colors are deeper than red colors – sharp eyes will notice that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is actually deeper than the surrounding seafloor! We call this topography an axial valley, and it is common on slow-spreading ridges such as found in the Atlantic Ocean.
IMG_0578_small
Members of the science team gathered around the chart table as the ship crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The second milestone was that we finished our 1500-km seismic transect from the edge of the Rio Grande Rise across to the eastern flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge! It has taken us about 2 weeks, as we have also detoured periodically to acquire 5 crossing profiles.

topo_mcs
Map showing our 1500-km east-west transect and 5 crossing north-south profiles.

Along the way we noticed a cool volcanic field – lots of small volcanoes in a small region. These are imaged best in our side scan sonar data, which measures the amplitude of the energy that bounces off the seafloor. We have a few more days of seismic acquisition, and then on Sunday will bring in our gear and start the long transit back to Cape Verde. – Gail

volcano_field
Images of the volcano field. 
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2 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. I am so glad you will ALL be heading home soon. Even though we are so excited for all of you to get to experience this adventure, we miss you and are ready for you to be home. Sail On, Mates!

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