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Opening an IGT sampler

High-Pressure Work

Research associate Sean Sylva (left) and marine chemist Jeff Seewald carefully release highly pressurized fluid from an isobaric gas-tight sampler (IGT). The IGT was developed at WHOI to collect fluid flowing from hydrothermal vents and keep it at ocean-floor pressures—in some cases, more than 3,500 pounds per square inch—as it returns to a lab for analysis. This prevents gases in the sample from escaping as the IGT nears the sea surface. On a Dive and Discover expedition in January 2014, Sylva and Seewald will use IGTs to collect microbes living in hydrothermal vent fluids to learn more about the vent ecosystem, which thrives in the complete absence of sunlight. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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