Group photo of the scientific party for The Windows to the Deep expedition

Group photo of the scientific party for The Windows to the Deep expedition. Click image for larger view.


Dr. Carolyn Ruppel, Co-Chief Scientist
Associate Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology

For more details on cruise results, please see the Full Summary PDF (17 pages, 936k)

The overarching goal of the 2003 Windows to the Deep expedition was exploration of the Blake Ridge and Carolina Rise for new methane seeps and cold seep communities using an integrated biological, chemical, and geophysical approach. To this end, the expedition team included graduate students and scientists with experience in aqueous and sediment geochemistry, seep ecology, microbial ecology, hard-rock geology, seismology, geophysics, and marine hydrogeology. Following highly successful explorations of the Blake Ridge Diapir methane seep community using the R/V Atlantis and DSV Alvin during a 2001 NOAA/NURP sponsored cruise led by Windows to the Deep co-chief scientist Cindy Van Dover, the region held promise as an excellent target for the discovery of similar seeps.

This summary provides greater detail about the expedition and its findings through the prism of both synthesis studies and focused, specialty studies. In general, the contributions of the expedition can be summarized under three major headings: Geology, Geochemistry, and Biology.

Windows to the Deep provided the following contributions to our geological knowledge:

Samples obtained during the Alvin dives will contribute to knowledge of the seep community ecology and seep microbiology. These contributions will include:

The primary contributions from the geochemical studies will include: