National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

Hunting for Hydrothermal Vents in the Marianas

Mariana back-arc study area Falkor 2015

Mariana back-arc region with the white line depicting the spreading center.

December 20, 2015

EOI Scientists aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s RV Falkor explored the Mariana back-arc spreading center (November 20 - December 17) and discovered four new hydrothermal vent sites. Researchers from NOAA and its cooperative institutes at the University of Washington and Oregon State University searched for these new hydrothermally active sites to gain a better understanding of the physical, chemical and geological forces that shape the biodiversity in these unique ecosystems. Scientists will return for a second cruise in the Fall of 2016 with a remotely operated vehicle to further characterize and sample the new vent sites.

Learn more about the expedition at:
Hydrothermal Hunt at Mariana (Schmidt Ocean Institute)

UPDATE May 2016:  EOI scientists remotely join expedition verifying new hydrothermal vents and lava flows with ROV expedition aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.  Read more here.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute provided the ship and support for this expedition. Additional support is provided by NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research and NOAA Pacific Island Regional Office.