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Looking for New Lava

Bosun Wayne Bailey oversees the deployment of the WHOI TowCam, a specially designed digital camera system that photographs the seafloor as it is  towed a few meters above the ocean bottom behind a research vessel. In 2006, scientists discovered newly erupting volcanoes at the East Pacific Rise (EPR) and scrambled to conduct a series of "rapid response" expeditions to study them. During an expedition aboard the RV R/V Atlantis, WHOI marine geologists Adam Soule and Dan Fornari and biologist Tim Shank used TowCam to map the new eruption along the EPR axis, observing fresh lava and noting that several seafloor biological communities that had once thrived were now gone.

(Photo by Dan Fornari, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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