We left Newport,
Oregon this morning around noon and are headed almost due west, out to
the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Our first operations will be at the Cleft
segment, the southern most segment on the ridge, where we will spend
the first three days of the expedition before moving north to Axial volcano.
The northern end of the Cleft segment experienced a volcanic eruption
in the mid-1980s, but we'll be going to the southern end of the segment
where the National Science Foundation RIDGE Program has established a
seafloor observatory. At Cleft we'll be deploying an array of instruments
on the seafloor called Extensometers,
that are designed to directly measure seafloor spreading (extension).
More on the instruments tomorrow.
ROPOS on deck of Ron Brown
enroute to Cleft Segment.