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Walvis Ridge MV1203 Expedition

Daily Science Report 28 -- Friday, 9 March 2012


Since dredging and mapping Moby Dick we have been moving quickly through seamounts. In seven days we have mapped eleven seamounts and conducted nine dredges. We are currently dredging Haviside for the second time. The initial dredge at Haviside was a great success and filled all five of our tables with basalt samples. Haviside is of particular interest because it is the last large seamount before Tristan da Cunha in the northern “Tristan” seamount trend.

Looking forward it appears that over the next few days a solar storm is going to affect our ability to conduct research efficiently. Solar storms are also called geomagnetic storms and are caused by solar flares from the Sun. The geomagnetic storms temporarily cause disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field over the course of a few days. This will unfortunately cause problems for our magnetic anomaly data collection. For us to be able to detect magnetic anomalies within the oceanic crust the Earth’s magnetic field needs to be stable. To minimize the impact of the solar storm we have rerouted the rest of the cruise in order to delay important magnetic surveying lines until after the solar storm has settled down. The storm could also disrupt our GPS systems thereby hampering our navigation abilities.

We are beginning our science report series which will address topics mentioned in the Scientific Objectives and the type of research that we conduct here on the R/V Melville and back in the lab at home. Our first two reports have been posted: the first describes the theory and method of Ar/Ar geochronology and the second tells us about the wonderful attributes of Pillow Lavas.

Daniel Heaton