ALIA Expedition
Samoan Seamounts -- R/V Kilo Moana -- KM0506

Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scripps Institution of Oceanography are teaming up on the Hawaiian Research Vessel Kilo Moana to study the Samoan Hotspot. They named their expedition ALIA after the ancient twin-hulled canoe that Samoan Warriors used to explore the SW Pacific. The Kilo Moana will leave Pago Pago on April 4 with a crew of science warriors with an ambitious plan to study active and extinct underwater volcanoes along the chain of Samoan of islands. The ALIA expedition will study previously uncharted seamounts and the submarine portions of some islands, scattered over almost 600 nautical miles, from its most recent and quite active Vailulu’u submarine volcano in the east to Combe Island in the west. The data and rocks collected during the ALIA expedition will be used to explore the hotspot model, which predicts that ocean island and seamount chains are formed on moving lithospheric plates by stationary hotspots in the Earth’s mantle.
Day 22 -- 25 April 2005 -- Our Final Full Day at Sea
The last target for the ALIA cruise was set today and we are cruising for Papatua seamount to put a final dredge there. Preparations for packing up our rocks, data and personal belongings is starting up already, so that we can make a smooth transition for the next science crew to come onboard. 

Day 21 -- 24 April 2005 -- Back to the North of Savai'i Island
Around midnight we reached the location of ALIA-D128 after a long transit. We only will execute a mini-survey here to determine were exactly to put the dredge in the water. All in all, ignoring any unforeseen changes in the weather, we still might have enough time to steam for Papatua seamount south of Tutuila Island and place our final dredge there.

Follow the ALIA Expedition using
Click on the icon above to activate the newly developed Java Applet that follows the ALIA Expedition during its cruise. In here you can get location, water depth, speed and wind direction in near real time as we survey the Samoan seamounts.

Developed by
Daniel Staudigel
Ryan Delaney
Blake English


Cruise Status Archive  
Ancient beliefs, Contemporary Facts & Amalgamation
This discussion embodies the realms of knowledge and understanding between the old and new worlds of Samoa. It emphasizes the genesis of the Samoan islands as inferred by ancient and modern scientists respectively, specifically in the context of human-environment relationships. Please read on to follow this report by International Observer Shaun Williams on the existent similarities between these two cultures.

Mapping the Sea Floor
Mapping the Ocean Floor is a complex process, but thanks to modern sonar arrays it has been made relatively easy, and incredibly accurate. Learn how scientists chart the 75% of the earth that is relatively unknown.

Mechanics of the CTD
A CTD is device which is lowered into the water and relays back information about the water it is passing through.  They are lowered through a depth range and the data collected is used to create a water profile of that range.  Most CTD’s are also equipped with Niskin bottles that can be triggered to collect water samples at different depths.

Interview with the Captain of the R/V Kilo Moana
The captain of the ship, Bryon Wilson, is in charge of all aspects of the ship, an responsible for the operation of the vessel. Learn more about this critical person and how/why he came to be captain of a research vessel, and a twin-hulled one at that.

Interview with Stan Hart, Co-Chief Scientist
Co-Chief Scientist Stan Hart is from Woods Hole Institute of Oceanography. Find out what it is like to be a professor and chief scientists aboard a research cruise.

PISCES 5 Dive 609: Vailulu’u Seamount NW breach and Nafanua Volcano
The goal of this dive was to explore the NW breach of Vailulu’u and the recently discovered Nafanua cone in the western portion of the crater. Several instruments and exposure experiments were to be deployed in the crater, and in the spillway of water from the NW breach to a channel north of Nafanua volcano. Read a quick report here and view some exiting underwater video coverage.

PISCES 5 Dive 610: Vailulu’u Seamount NW and W breaches and Nafanua Volcano
The goal of this dive was to explore the western summit, the SW basin and Nafanua shield volcano. We were to deploy a current meter, exposure experiments, temperature loggers and MAPRs on the western-most summit. Also we took samples on sites including Lefaleleilagi, the SW upper terrace, on the recently discovered Nafanua shield volcano in the western portion of the crater, and below and at the NW breach. Read a quick report here.

Ta’ū through the Hourglass: An alternative look ...
If you look closely at the morphology or shape of Ta’ū Island, one may notice a pronounced variation from how it looks in the present day and how it appears on the maps published by the Scottish Geographical Magazine in 1889. From a more circular volcanic cone, this island appears to have changed to a horseshoe shape with its opening facing south. Read here an account on the fascinating explanations on this morphological observation. Report by Shaun Williams.

Nafanua -- A New Volcanic Cone in the Vailulu'u Crater
At 8 inches per day a new volcanic hyaloclastite cone has been growing inside the crater of Vailulu'u. During our last DeepFreeze expedition onboard the US Coastguard vessel the Polar Star in May 2001 the crater floor was consistently about 1,000 meters deep, yet over the last 4 years, a 290 m high volcanic cone, named Nafanua, has sprung up filling in the west portion of the crater.

Fanuasā o Tagaloaolagi: In Retrospect
Shaun Williams is our Samoan international observer joining the ALIA expedition. Read his take on the importance of this cruise to the Samoan people, the integration of science in their culture and the importance of teaching about volcanic hazards.

View News Archive  |  Participants
ALIA Expedition Info
 Related Publications
 ERDA Data Files
 News Archive
 R/V Kilo Moana

Vailulu'u Web Page
To the Eastside of Ta'u Island an active underwater volcano, named Vailulu'u, is present. This unique seamount already has been the subject of three previous seagoing cruises. Read more about the outcome of these cruises ...

Seamount Catalog
The Seamount Catalog is a digital archive for bathymetric seamount maps that can be viewed and downloaded in various formats. Visit this online catalog to find grid and multibeam data files, as well as user-contributed files, from the Samoa Hotspot trail.

WHOI  |  SIO  | Links
Sponsored by NSF and NSDL
Day 24 Image Gallery and Daily Report
Tisa's son is cleaning off a grapefruit with a cut-off can (hopefully not, but probably Starkist).

Day 23 Image Gallery and Daily Report
How to pile the pile of rocks? A puzzle that requires at least six brains ...

Day 22 Image Gallery and Daily Report
Today was an eventful day, for life on a ship.  Today was the first day that any shipboard videoconferencing happened...

Day 21 Image Gallery and Daily Report
Dredging off the Wallis Island, we watched as dredge 127 picked up rock after rock...

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The Rock Saw
Anthony gets to work cutting the rocks from dredge 127.  Each sample has to be cut into various shapes for processing, and this is the saw we use to do it.

Slicing through the Clear Waters
The clear water around Wallis island makes it easy to see the unique shape of the Kilo Moana's bow.

Video Archive
Here's the scoop: We, Ryan Delaney, Daniel Staudigel and Blake English, are high school students from High Tech High in San Diego. We were invited to join the ALIA Expedition aboard the R/V Kilo Moana, to report on the daily occurrences on the expedition. These reports are meant to give our perspective on the cruise (sometimes differing from those of our two Fahrt Leiters, i.e. Chief Scientists in German) and they represent a mixed bag of personal impressions from our travels as well as some interesting science tidbits, as we see or learn of them. We're also responsible for much of the content that you see on this site, and in addition to our daily updates, there are certain topics which were too interesting to leave unshared. Please join us as we spend a month at sea in the South Pacific studying oceanography.
Note: Just so you know we're roughing it, the water here is 85 degrees Fahrenheit.