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Cruise Goals

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This is a historic cruise. It is the first U.S. contribution to GEOTRACES, a program planned to last two decades and crisscross the global ocean. Our objective is to map and document the distribution of a host of trace elements and isotopes over a wide range of ocean environments. This figure shows our planned station locations plotted on a map of dissolved inorganic nutrients at 200m depth in the North Atlantic. Persistent, wind-driven upwelling off the West African coast produces a carbon particulate “rain” in the ocean that consumes oxygen and enriches nutrients in the water column. This “redox” change strongly affects trace metal chemistry in the ocean, and we hope to document changes that result from these conditions.

As we move away from Africa, we will cross the Mid Atlantic Ridge (see second map), where we sample one of the major drivers of deep-ocean chemistry—deep hydrothermal vents. From there, we will move into more “blue waters” (the purple, low-nutrient water in figure 1) to study the low-productivity regions of the sub-tropical North Atlantic. After passing Bermuda, we will cross the Gulf Stream, sampling the waters as we approach the North American continent and, after two months at sea, home.

Last updated: October 18, 2010

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