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R/V Chain

Where Currents Collide

In 1973, a string of mooring floats goes over the fantail of the WHOI research vessel Chain during the Mid-Ocean Dynamics Experiment (MODE). Conceived by renowned physical oceanographer Henry Stommel, MODE was an early big-science project that involved 15 institutions and five research vessels. Intended to measure the general circulation of the Atlantic Ocean, MODE focused on waters about 500 miles southwest of Bermuda, where the Gulf Stream, the North Atlantic Current, and the North Equatorial Current collide. Later in the decade, the follow-on POLYMODE program extended MODE's geographical reach and expanded to include investigators from the Soviet Union.

(Image courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives)


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