WHOI ROV Rock Drill System
The National Science Foundation has recently awarded a grant to Maurice Tivey
and Dan Fornari at WHOI to provide operational oversight and coordination
for the use of a ROV-based drilling system on Jason2 for the US science
community (NSF-OCE-0531466). The drill system was developed and
operated for the last decade by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research
Institute (MBARI) and has now been transferred to WHOI through the
purchase made possible by the NSF funding. MBARI is collaborating
in the transfer of the drill technology and operational expertise
required to use it.
|Enlarge ImageThe National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF) ROV Jason2 fitted with the MBARI drill system (red arrow) in 2003 for work at the Endeavour hydrothermal vent field. (Photo by D. Kelley)
The management and operation of the drilling equipment will be done
within the scope of the Third Party Tool guidelines established by the
UNOLS Deep Submergence Science Committee (DESSC) (http://www.unols.org/committees/dessc/3rdpartytool.html), in close
collaboration with members of the National Deep Submergence Facility
(NDSF) and with regular reporting to the DESSC and federal agency
sponsors of NDSF.
This web site provides basic information to potential science users of
the ROV Drill System and encourages users to submit proposals for its
use. An ROV provides all control, navigation and power
infrastructure needed to operate a small seafloor drilling system, plus
state-of-the-art real-time visual imaging. The ROV platform
provides a tremendous opportunity to link exploratory missions with
superb sampling capabilities. The limitation with ROV-based
drilling is the lack of deep penetration into the seafloor.
However, obtaining multiple high-quality samples in the form of short
(~2-100 cm) cores, where and when they are needed provides a major leap
forward in our ability to sample and document the seafloor and to test
hypotheses related to the formation and evolution of the ocean crust
and the microbial habitats that reside therein. Routine ROV-based
drilling also provides excellent opportunities for emplacement of
instruments in a wide range of seafloor environments and outcrops that
are important for time-series measurements of chemical, biological and
geophysical processes. Having a drill system that can be used
routinely on a ROV cruise provides the advantage of being able to
accomplish both traditional mapping and sampling as well as deployment
of corehole-based instruments during the same cruise.
In 2003, the MBARI drill was fitted to ROV Jason2 and used to drill
holes for a microbiology incubation experiment and in situ seismometer
deployments at the Main Endeavour Field [Kelley et al., 2003; McGill et
al., 2004; Wilcock et al., 2004]. It will be used again in Sept. 2005
to drill additional holes in sulfide and basalt structures for
microbiological experiment deployments (D. Kelley, pers. commun.,
Kelley, D.S., J.A. Karson, D. Yoerger, G.L. Fruh-Green, D.A.
Butterfield, and M. Lilley, Discovering New Mantle-Hosted Submarine
Ecosytems: The Lost City Hydrothermal Field, EOS Trans. AGU, 84(46),
McGill, P.R., W.S. Wilcock, D.S. Stakes, A.H. Barclay, T.M.
Ramirez, and D.R. Toomey, A Long-Term Seismic Array on the Endeavour
Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, EOS Trans. AGU, 84 (46), B12A-0748,
Wilcock, W.S., A.H. Barclay, P.R. McGill, D.S. Stakes, T.M.
Ramirez, D.R. Toomey, D.T. Durant, E.E. Hooft, and T.L. Mulder, Local
Earthquakes on the Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge: First
Seismic Results from the Keck Seismic/Hydrothermal Observatory, EOS
Trans. AGU, 85 (47), B13A-0180, 2004.