Embarking on a three-week deep-sea research expedition requires a lot of preparation. For this expedition to Escanaba Trough, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners spend the first few days in port, building their laboratory space aboard the research vessel Thomas G. Thompson.
Escanaba Trough Expedition: Introduction Video
Almost everything the scientists need to collect samples and conduct their research must be transported onto the ship with them.
The science team and ship crew are spending three weeks at Escanaba Trough, 200 miles off the coast of northern California. They’re collecting sediment samples in gravity cores. They’re measuring water conductivity, temperature, and depth. Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), they’re collecting photos, videos, and biological and geological samples from the seafloor along Escanaba Trough. They’re also using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to map seafloor features in Escanaba Trough and search for electric and magnetic traces of hydrothermal systems.
The goal is to improve our understanding of hydrothermal systems as they change over time, as well as our understanding of the geological and biological characteristics of these deep-sea environments.