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An eruption that covered 9 square miles of seafloor with lava at the East Pacific Rise trapped three ocean-bottom seismometers.

Breaking Out of Davey Jones' Locker

A lot of ocean science equipment goes into the water and never comes back. Some of it was intended to stay; other times, the sea claims it by force. Recently researchers used the WHOI-operated underwater vehicle Jason to take back some instruments that had been claimed by a seafloor volcanic eruption. In April 2007, scientists and technicians on the research vessel Atlantis returned to a patch of seafloor on the East Pacific Rise to find and rescue a trio of ocean-bottom seismometers that had been glued to the ocean bottom by erupting lava (Click here for video of the recovery). Scientists were particularly interested in getting the OBSs back because they may have recorded the moments when the undersea volcano erupted. (Photo courtesy of the National Deep Submergence Facility, ROV Jason, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the National Science Foundation)


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