ALIA Expedition
All Cruise Updates

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.

Day 20 -- 23 April 2005 -- Steaming for Wallis Island
Today we finished the first long leg on our way back to Pago Pago on Tutuila Island. We stopped at Wallis Island and started to dredge on its western deep flank around 18:30 local time. The clock is ticking and as soon as we pull this dredge onboard the R/V Kilo Moana will start on a long leg towards the north of Savai'i Island -- an approximate transit of 17 hours at a speed of 12 knots.

Day 19 -- 22 April 2005 -- Dredging the Flank of Manatu Seamount
Our luck with dredging is holding up. Today we dredged fresh basalts again, although not in the same quantities as in the days before. Nevertheless, sometimes it only takes a few rocks to get the desired analyses done ... so we are keeping our fingers crossed for the final three dredges still to come.

Day 18 -- 21 April 2005 -- Reaching Our Turning Point
We have come as far west as we can go during the ALIA Expedition. With five more days to go we have to start making our way back to Pago Pago in the east of the Samoan Archipelago. This will involve a lot of steaming/surveying and making the occasional dredge. Today we carried out two successful dredges against 800 m high fault scarps resulting in an abundance of relatively fresh basaltic rocks.

Day 17 -- 20 April 2005 -- Roughing Out 30 Knot Gale Winds
Today no dredging was allowed due to a passing front with steady 30 knot gale winds and gusts up to 40 knots. The sea was rough with massif waves causing this otherwise very stable vessel to roll up to 8 degrees. Nobody, except essential personnel, was allowed outside on the deck, while we kept on surveying and mapping out new seamounts. The weather is expected to improve significantly over the next 24 hours.

Day 16 -- 19 April 2005 -- Big Big Seamounts
Today we cruised into "big" seamount territory. Our latest target Combe Bank forms the beginning of a whole group of large volume seamounts in the west of the ALIA expedition area. Because these seamounts are all topped by massif coral slopes and carbonate platforms we are feverishly searching for deep dredging targets that may still give us basaltic samples for geochemistry and rock dating.

Day 15 -- 18 April 2005 -- Dredging Siafiafi and surveying Waterwitch
After arriving at the Siafiafi seamount, we started our dredge run only to find out (due to a miscommunication with the bridge) that we were in the wrong location.  Dragging the dredge in the water, we turned around and started the run again, only to be rewarded with a dredge full of coral.  Getting underway, we headed towards Waterwitch, our next dredging target.

Day 14 -- 17 April 2005 -- Toafilemu, Pasco, Lalla Rookh and Siafiafi
Cruising and surveying was our mainstay this day of the cruise. After pulling out dredge ALIA-D119 early in the morning we steamed southwards to Pasco bank and did a quick and successful dredge on its southwestern rift. For the rest of the day we surveyed three other seamounts on our way to Siafiafi seamount that is in our cruise plan for dredge ALIA-D121.

Day 13 -- 16 April 2005 -- Being Stuck on Old Seamounts
Today we continued dredging Su'i Su'i in what happened to be the longest dredge so far. We were on it for more than 9 hours, but still we successfully collected a ton of rocks, although they were all intensively altered into "soft" rocks containing abundant green clay minerals.

Day 12 -- 15 April 2005 -- Mapping into Uncharted Territory
While leaving Savai'i behind we are starting to map uncharted seamounts to the northwest of this island. Two new seamounts -- Tuapi'o and Su'i Su'i -- were mapped using the SIMRAD EM120 multibeam system and subsequently dredged, one time rather successfully, but the other time resulting in an empty dredge bag.

Day 11 -- 14 April 2005 -- Dredging the Shield of Savai'i
We have sailed towards the west while mapping out the southern flanks of Upolu and Savai'i Islands. The southwest flank has been sensationally disturbed by tectonic forces, giving us nice and steep fault scarps to dredge.

Day 10 -- 13 April 2005 -- Pago Pago to Savai'i
We untied from the dock at Pago Pago at 8 AM, and headed to our next destination: Savai'i.  We completed one dredge and then surveyed the area around Savai'i to determine future dredge targets.

Day 09 -- 12 April 2005 -- Back to Pago Pago
Dredging in the morning, we surveyed the area around Tutuila for possible dredge sites. We then headed into back to the port of Pago Pago to pick up supplies that were supposed to be waiting for us there. We tied up to the dock at around 4 PM, and found that of the many things we needed, only the shallow water multi-beam sonar's power supply was there.

Day 08 -- 11 April 2005 -- Dredging
We continued to dredge the seamounts East of Tutuila.  As you can see from the daily updates, we have been, and will continue to do a lot of dredging on this expedition.  We have given up on the primary pinger, and are now dredging without one.

Day 07 -- 10 April 2005 -- Dredging
More dredging. We are now moving south, dredging at spots of interest along the way. The secondary pinger was torn off the dredge wire, shearing off four 3/8" stainless steel bolts.  Our primary pinger is still causing us trouble and only works intermittently.

Day 06 -- 09 April 2005 -- Dredging
We continued to dredge, moving away from Vailulu'u.  We traveled East to and dredged at three separate different sites across.  We recovered many large rocks from the first two dredges, but we only retrieved coral and mud from the third. 

Day 05 -- 08 April 2005 -- Dredging
We dredged across Vailulu'u and retrieved about 300lbs of rocks.  We then traveled north and continued dredging. Unfortunately the pinger (attached 300 meters above the dredge) died right before the dredge made contact with the bottom, the time when we needed it most.  The decision was made to continue, and a limited rock sample was retrieved.

Day 04 -- 07 April 2005 -- Core Sampling at Vailulu'u
The first time we dropped the piston coring device, it hit a rock and bent the main shaft and the drill head. The limited sample that we recovered indicated that we were still to close to the volcano, so we traveled farther away before taking the next, successful core sample. 

Day 03 -- 06 April 2005 -- Surveying Vailulu'u
We continued to run the CTD both inside and outside  the crater of Vailulu'u. Unfortunately the winch broke causing a three hour delay. Once the winch was operational again, we re-deployed the CTD in hopes of mapping a full tidal cycle.  After the CTD runs we began to take core samples from the ocean floor.

Day 02 -- 05 April 2005 -- Surveying Vailulu'u
While mapping Vailulu'u using the multi-beam sonar array a rapidly growing volcanic cone was discovered in what was previously though to be an empty crater. The CTD was deployed and the data from that will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the water movement around the seamount.

Day 01 -- 04 April 2005 -- Pago Pago to Vailulu'u
First day of the cruise. Leaving Pago Pago harbor at 16:12 PM local time and heading for the hydrothermally active Vailulu'u underwater volcano towards the eastern end of the Samoan hotspot trail.

View All Galleries  |  View Daily Reports | Alia Expedition Home Page