postcards from the field Deep sea

What's it Like at the Bottom of the Ocean?

R/V Atlantis
Image courtesy of Ridge2000

On January 10, 2007, the Research Vessel Atlantis left Manzanillo, Mexico, sailing south for 2 days to reach a site in the East Pacific Ocean. The R/V Atlantis is the support ship for the manned submersible, Alvin. Scientists on board will spend the month of January diving to the seafloor in the submersible to study the volcanic eruptions and deep-sea life along the mid-ocean ridge system.

Last year (in May 2006), scientists found extensive fresh lava at this site, evidence of recent volcanic eruptions. Most of the animals that had been living near the deep sea vents at this site were no longer there. During this research cruise, scientists are investigating whether deep sea life has returned to this area since the eruptions.

During the cruise, researchers will observe and document changes at the study site on the ocean floor. Eric Simms, co-coordinator of the SEAS (Student Experiments at Sea) education program, is aboard the ship. He is sending virtual postcards from sea to Windows to the Universe, describing the experience of deep sea research. Take a look at Eric’s postcards linked below. Check back often for new postcards!

Greetings from the East Pacific Rise from Eric Simms, January 18, 2007

Volcanoes of the Deep Sea from Eric Simms, January 24, 2007

Houston, We Have a Phone Call! from Eric Simms, January 26, 2007

Diving to the Deep from Eric Simms, February 1, 2007

Last modified January 29, 2007 by Lisa Gardiner.

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Volcanoes of the deep sea

Hello again, from 9°50'N in the east Pacific Ocean (also known at the East Pacific Rise or EPR)! Did you know that deep beneath the surface of the ocean lies a mountain chain that stretches around the...more

Diving to the Deep

Greetings once again, from the East Pacific Rise! One of the most useful tools that scientists have for exploring the deep sea is the Alvin research submersible. Here's a postcard showing the submersible...more

Quakes Under Pacific Ocean Floor Reveal Unexpected Circulation System

Zigzagging some 60,000 kilometers across the ocean floor, Earth's system of mid-ocean ridges plays a pivotal role in many workings of the planet: in plate-tectonic movements, heat flow from the interior,...more

Life in the Deep Ocean

The deep ocean is very cold, under high pressure, and always dark because sunlight can not penetrate that far. The only light comes from bioluminescence – a chemical reaction inside the bodies of some...more

Penguin Colonies

This is Ross Island, a volcanic island embedded in the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Adelie penguins are found all around Antarctica, but we will be filming the documentary at the breeding colonies shown...more

View from our home

This is a view of the Adelie penguin breeding colony at Cape Royds in Antarctica. In the foreground you see Shackleton’s hut. Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team of explorers tried and failed to cross the...more

Time to Raise the Chicks

We are at Cape Royds, Ross Island, Antarctica, a penguin breeding colony of several thousand Adelie penguins. This female is 8 years old and has been a successful breeder in the past. She was first seen...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA