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Monitoring Undersea Earthquakes, Deep Sea Tides and Magnetic Fields


November 1, 2004

One of the largest known mineral deposits in the deep sea, the Tag hydrothermal site on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) in the North Atlantic Ocean, was the subject of a recent month-long cruise aboard the WHOI research vessel Knorr. Institution scientists and engineers used the remotely operated or tethered vehicle Jason for the first time in the Atlantic to monitor earthquake activity, study the temperatures of the hydrothermal vent which can reach 400°C (about 700°F), and collect tidal pressures at the site, located near 26°N 45°W at a depth of approximately 3,600 meters (about 11,800 feet). In November and December, scientists and engineers aboard Knorr will move north on the MAR to explore the Kane Fracture Zone. An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named ABE and the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will work together as part of studies to understand the formation of the ocean crust.