Submarine Ring of Fire 2012: NE Lau Basin

Mission Summary

Submarine Ring of Fire 2012: Northeast Lau Basin was the latest in a series of expeditions to explore the submarine volcanoes of the Western Pacific. An interdisciplinary team of 27 scientists and technical experts to use the remotely operated vehicle Quest 4000 to explore and collect samples at volcanic vents and hot springs in order to characterize the unique ecosystems in the Northeast Lau basin through examination of their geology, chemistry, and macro- and micro- biology.

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Video Highlights

September 22 Dive Highlights

Highlights from the ROV dive at Niua North, September 22, 2012. The dive area at Niua North was characterized by billowing sulfur plumes exuding from cracks in the sediment-covered seafloor. Species of shrimp, crabs, snails, and mussels were observed.

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September 21 Dive Highlights

Highlights from ROV Dive 8, looking at Mata Fitu—a location filled with chimneys covered in stalked barnacles that lent them a white, snow-dusted appearance. Scale worms, large snails, shrimp, and crabs were seen in abundance around the vents.

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September 20 Dive Highlights

Highlights from the second ROV dive at Mata Ua, one of seven volcanos in the North Mata complex. Stalked barnacles were observed in abundance and collected, and several black smoker chimneys were sampled from a 'forest' of active and inactive vents.

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