Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Questionnaire

Northeast Pacific CORK servicing and experiments, Summer 2011


R/V Atlantis


Cruise Party

Keir Becker: Principal Investigator
Univ. Miami, RSMAS USA
+1 305 421 4661
Becker Keir

Jordan Clark: Principal Investigator
Univ. California, Santa Barbara USA
+1 805 450 1824

James Cowen: Principal Investigator
1000 Pope Road Honolulu, HI USA 96822
+1 808 956 7124

Andrew Fisher: Principal Investigator, Chief Scientist
UCSC 1156 High Street Santa Cruz, CA USA 95064
+1 831 459 5598

Charles Wheat: Principal Investigator
Univ. Alaska Fairbanks USA
+1 831 633 7033
Wheat Geoff

Departure: San Diego, CA on Jun 26, 2011

Arrival: Astoria OR on Jul 14, 2011

Mobilization Date: Jun 23, 2011

Demobilization Date: Jul 16, 2011

Supporting documentation:


Operations Area: Cascadia Basin, NE Pacific

Lat/Lon: 47° 45.3′ S / 127° 45.5′ W

Depth Range: 2600 / 2700

Will the vessel be operating within 200 NM of a foreign country? Canada
Are visas or special travel documents required? no

Science objectives

OCE 1031808 (Project Leader: A. T. Fisher, 11 days) supports multidisciplinary borehole experiments in oceanic crust, to assess hydrogeologic, solute and colloid transport, and microbiological processes and properties at multiple spatial and temporal scales (meters to kilometers, minutes to years). Results of these experiments will comprise a major advance in our understanding of hydrogeologic properties and fluid processes within the volcanic oceanic crust. This grant supports scientific activities that follow completion of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 327, which operated in Summer 2010. This expedition drilled two holes through sediments and into the volcanic crust on the 3.5 m.y. old seafloor on the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. These holes were drilled, cased, cored, and tested, then instrumented with subseafloor, borehole observatory systems (CORKs).

The Expedition 327 CORKs augment four additional observatory systems, all located within an area of about 2.5 square kilometers, creating a network of instrumented sites where researchers are monitoring pressure and temperature at depth, and sampling fluids and microbiological material using autonomous instrumentation. These CORK systems require servicing with a submersible or remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to download data, recover samples, and replace a variety of experimental systems. This is a primary goal of the Summer 2011 expedition with the ROV Jason II and the R/V Atlantis. In addition, we will install a new flow meter on the top of one of the CORK observatories, then open a large-diameter ball valve, allowing overpressured hydrothermal fluid from the crust to flow freely into the overlying ocean. This will provide a fluid and microbiological sampling opportunity, and will create a pressure perturbation that will extend within the seafloor to the other CORK observatories. By monitoring the formation pressure response at the different observatories, located at different distances and in different directions from the CORK that will be allowed to discharge fluid, researchers will be able to assess the nature of crustal hydrologic properties.

MCB-0604014 (Project Leader: J. Cowen, 1 day) is intended to collect clean samples of crustal fluids for geochemical, microbiological and ecological characterization. Researchers are studying subseafloor microbial communities and metabolic diversity in association with geochemical processes. In situ, real-time voltammetric analyses will measure key dissolved redox species, helping to elucidate the metabolic climate of the basement fluids and guide biology portions of this research. Geochemical and biological data will serve as input parameters for thermodynamic calculations of potential metabolic reactions, which will provide a ‘reality-check’ for occurrence of specific metabolisms. Biomarkers and their carbon isotopic compositions will provide information about source organisms, carbon sources, and physiological processes. MCB-0604014 activities focus mainly on acquisition of pristine fluid samples from one or more of the six CORK observatory systems described above.

OCE-0726887 (Project Leader: K. Becker, 1 day) has overall project goals similar to those described for OCE-1031808, but also was to include servicing of an additional observatory system that is not part of the IODP Expedition 327 network. This additional system was installed on younger seafloor, ~50 nmi to the west, during ODP Leg 168 in 1996. At present this CORK system is being used for formation pressure monitoring. During the Summer 2011 Atlantis/Jason II expedition, we plan to visit this CORK, download pressure data, and may attempt recovery of an additional pressure measurement system installed nearby on the seafloor.

Science Activities

    Functional goals for AT18-08 are to service of a network of six subseafloor observatories (CORKs) separated by ~40 to 2460 m, collect fluid and microbiological samples, and complete cross-hole hydrogeologic, geochemical, and microbiological experiments. Because of the close spacing between the primary CORK systems that are the focus of AT18-08, it should be possible to combine operations at multiple wellheads during a single Jason dive, but this will depend on payload, electrical connection, elevator and other operational requirements.
    Active pressure measurement and logging systems are currently installed in the CORKs in Holes 1026B, 1301A, 1301B, 1362A, and 1362B. Data from Hole 1026B are being downloaded automatically using the Neptune Canada cable network. Data from the other CORKs will be downloaded with Jason. Pressure download operations will include manipulation of valves to check the hydrostatic pressure offset and evaluate potential gauge drift. The CORK in Hole 1027C contains an older generation of data logger installed in the top of the wellhead and held in place by a corroded electrical connector. We intend to recover and replace the pressure logger in Hole 1027C. The current Hole 1027C data logger might still be collecting data (depending on battery performance) or, even if it is not currently logging, may be capable of providing data for download. We should be prepared to download data from the old logger, but this will be attempted only if we can't recover it from the wellhead. Once the old 1027C logger is replaced (as described in more detail below), the new logger will be downloaded at least once to verify functionality and conditions in this hole. The pressure logger installed in Hole 1024C will be downloaded on a dedicated dive, as this hole is located ~50 nmi west of our primary work site.
    Replacement of the pressure logging system in Hole 1027C will require a series of special operations. First, we are building a tool to remove the corroded brass electrical connector from the top of the wellhead. Once this connector is removed, we will deploy another tool to latch onto the data logger and pull it out using a hydraulic ram (driven by hydrostatic pressure). These tools will be carried to the seafloor using Jason's basket or an elevator. Once the old logger is removed, we will install an insert into the wellhead. There will be a hydraulic coupler coming off the side of the insert, near the top. We will use this coupler to connect to a hydraulic umbilical plumbed into a pressure gauge and data logger, which will be deployed on the CORK landing platform. This data logger was intended for deployment in a CORK wellhead during Expedition 327, so it has the same kind of underwater mateable connector as the pressure loggers used on other CORKs in this area. The insert placed in the Hole 1027C CORK wellhead will have a rotating clamp on top, like that deployed on the Site 1362 CORKs. We will install a solid plug in the clamp during Summer 2011 Jason operations, but a plug supporting additional instrumentation (for fluid sampling, microbiological substrate, etc) could be deployed at a later time.
    We are developing an autonomous flowmeter system that is to be deployed on the top of a ball valve in the wellhead of one of the Expedition 327 CORKs, most likely the one in Hole 1362B. This flowmeter will use an electro-magnetic induction sensor to determine the rate of fluid outflow from the CORK over time, with measurements made every 15-60 minutes for the following year. The flowmeter will be held in place with a rotating clamp built into a ball valve positioned in one of the wellhead bays. Opening that valve will start a long-term flow experiment, which will last for at least 12 months, as the overpressured formation discharges fluid at 5–10 L/s, with pressure monitoring occurring in this hole and in nearby CORKs to determine the nature of the cross-hole response. There will be a vertical pipe with a diameter of ~4 that extends upward from the flowmeter sensor by about 1 m. Four autonomous thermal loggers will be installed along the length of this pipe, to provide an independent estimate of the upward fluid flow rate (using heat as a tracer). In addition, this pipe will provide fluid and microbiological sampling opportunities. Inlets to fluid samplers can be "hung" over the top of the pipe, allowing fluids to be sampled during discharge from the hole.
    OsmoSampler systems are currently installed on wellheads in Holes 1026B, 1301A, and 1301B. Existing and new OsmoSampling systems include Teflon coils, copper coils, and microbiological FLOCS incubation chambers. Existing systems will be recovered and new systems will be installed at these locations and on CORKs in Holes 1362A and 1362B, which were deployed on IODP Expedition 327 without samplers in place. The OsmoSamplers installed on the CORK in Hole 1362B will draw fluids from the discharge from the flowmeter system, rather than from lines on the wellhead.
    Additional fluid samples will be collected from wellheads using a variety of techniques. Active pumping systems use mechanical and hydraulic pumps and will be deployed and recovered on a short-term basis (hours to days). These systems can be used to draw fluids from valves and fittings on CORK wellheads, and to sample from flow discharging from the flowmeter. NOTE: when actively sampling from CORK wellhead fittings using a mechanical/hydraulic pump system, we may need to close OsmoSampler and/or pressure monitoring valves so that we don't damage associated instruments.

Pre-cruise planning meeting: Teleconference

I could also plan a visit if it would help later this spring or in a US port.
Media personnel on board: Video, Writer, Teachers, students, videographer
We are planning a significant education, outreach, and communication program, will have something like 5-6 teachers, bloggers, and maybe someone to help with making videos. Videographer will help to communicate with others on shore, and we want to have numerous web conferences with museums, summer camps, etc.


Funding Agency: NSF #OCE-1031808, NSF #OCE-0726887, NSF #MCB-0604014

- added NSF #OCE-1031808 on Mar 15, 2011 2:27 PM by Andrew T. Fisher
- added NSF #OCE-0726887 on Mar 15, 2011 2:27 PM by Andrew T. Fisher
- added NSF #MCB-0604014 on Mar 15, 2011 2:27 PM by Andrew T. Fisher

R/V Atlantis

Shipboard Equipment

Bathymetry System 12 kHz
Bathymetry System 3.5 kHz
Deionized Water System
Fume Hood
Navigation - Heading
Navigation - Position
Relay Transponder for Wire Use
Transponder Navigation - Sonardyne USBL

Shipboard Communication

Basic Internet access via HiSeasNet
Is there a need to receive data from shore on a regular basis?
Is there a need to transfer data to shore on a regular basis?
Is there an expectation to use Skype or any other real-time video conference program?

CTD/Water Sampling

911+ Rosette 24-position, 10-liter bottle Rosette with dual T/C sensors

Critical CTD Sensors: 

Sample Storage

Climate Controlled Walk-in
Freezer -70°C 3.2 cu. ft. ea.
Freezer -70°C 25 cu. ft.
Refrigerator 8.6 cu. ft.
Scientific Walk-in Freezer

Storage Notes:


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no

Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation for other than Alvin operations? no



Navigation Notes: Our primary work will be with Jason, not sure about LBL versuys USBL for that. If we have time and do some additional survey work on outcrops, nav requirements will depend on time available. Also, if we do outcrop work, we may wish to generate maps at sea. But if we just work at the primary sites (all CORK work), no maps will be needed.


CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire
Hydro Winch with .25" hydro wire

Winch Notes: Not sure if CTD or Hydro wire might be used for deployment of elevators, if we want to position them with transponders close to CORKs. Also, we may wish to raise/lower the flow meter on a elevator and wire to calibrate early in the cruise.

Wire use and application

Hydro Winch with .25" hydro wire
CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire

Wire Notes: We will launch and recover elevators with experimental componets to be delivered to the seafloor to be merged with CORK systems, or recovered from CORKs with aid of Jason. I have asked co-PIs and our development engineer to provide specs for these systems, weights, dimensions etc. but did not want to wait for this information before filing this report. I'll keep working on this to get detailed specs. We will also have OsmoSamplers, ODI UM connectors, and microbial sampling systems, as deployed/recovered during Summer 2010 Jason operations in same area.
Slip ring required? no Number of conductors: 
Non-standard wire required? no Type: 
Traction winch required? no Describe: 

Portable Vans

Chemical Storage Van
Isotope Van

Other Science Vans:

Specialized Deck Equipment

Mooring Deployment/Recovery Equipment Required: no Type: 
Cruise Specific Science Winch Required: no Type: 
Nets Required: no Type: 

Over the Side Equipment

Will you be bringing any equipment (winches, blocks, etc.) that lowers instruments over the side? no

Special Requirements

Elecrical Power: no Identify: 
Equipment Handling: no Identify: 
Inter/intraship Communications: no Identify: 
Science Stowage: no Identify: 
Water: no Identify: 

Additional Cruise Items/Activities

Explosive Devices: no
Portable Air Compressors: no
Flammable Gases: no
Small Boat Operations: no
SCUBA Diving Operations: no

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized? yes

Radioactive Material

Radioiosotopes: no

Additional Information

Is night time work anticipated on this cruise? yes

Specialized tech support (Seabeam, coring, other): Night work will comprise mainly elevator operations (deploy and/or recovery), and one or more CTD operations. 

Other required equipment and special needs: We are exploring options for use of FBB at 256k or 512k streaming to web conferences, blogging, transferring videos. We are also talking to third party vendors about communication options, are working with Laura Stolp and colleagues to test systems on Oceanus and Atlantis, to see what might work best for our group.
Date Submitted: Mar 24, 2011 12:16 PM by Andrew T. Fisher