JR224: Chemosynthetic life in the Antarctic


Cruise diary

Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 February 2009
Location: Southern Ocean (60ºS / 33ºW)

Continuing the survey of E9 amongst icebergs and penguins!

We have now spent a few days in this southern area of the East Scotia Ridge. We are still conducting CTD surveys to locate the origin of the hydrothermal plumes we have identified with the CTD. Later on today, if all goes well, we will be sending SHRIMP down to explore a selected region with its video cameras.

We have also conducted a little educational experiment. Many of the children from the Twyford St. Mary’s School, Twyford, Winchester who are following the cruise on the web painted some polystyrene cups and we brought them with us to the ship. We have put the cups in a net bag that we attached on SHRIMP and sent them to the depths of Antarctic waters, at 2500 m (see the SHRIMP photo). When they came up, they had shrunk considerably! This is because pressure increases with depth, at 1 atmosphere every 10 m, so at 2500 m, the pressure is 250 atmospheres! Because polystyrene has air inside, as the cups go down in the water column the air is squeezed out making the cups to shrink to funny shapes!

Above and right: Sending the cups down on SHRIMP!

Above: The cups before (left) and after (right)
their descent into the Antarctic depths

This morning, when the 0400 team got up to start our CTD watch, we were welcomed by snow on deck and beautiful icebergs on a calm sea!...the only problem was that one of the large icebergs was on the way for our CTD survey, so we had to work around it for a while!


An iceberg proves to be an immovable
object for the CTD survey

Snow on the aft deck


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