A summertime sail in search of Nordic black smokers

Oct 3rd, 2017

Kelly Foss

A summertime sail in search of Nordic black smokers

Memorial’s Dr. John Jamieson spent some of the warm summer months on a cold-water cruise — Arctic cold.

The professor of earth sciences joined a multidisciplinary research team aboard the research vessel R/V G.O. Sars, led by chief scientist Dr. Rolf Pederson, director of the K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research at the University of Bergen, Norway.

The researchers used the Aegir remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to dive along a submarine volcanic ridge searching for black smoker vents.

Black smokers

Black smokers are hot water springs that form on underwater volcanoes.

Smokers are known for their unique habitats, which are home to organisms that don’t depend on sunlight for sustenance. They also contain valuable minerals and researchers are trying to understand the vents as a system – how the rock, biology and fluids interact with each other – an important component of determining the environmental impacts of mining them.

Research activities included collecting rock and biological samples with the ROV, collecting sediment cores, mapping the seafloor with the Norwegian Hugin autonomous underwater vehicle and deploying ocean bottom seismometers, which can detect earthquake and submarine volcanic processes.

Funding for the project was provided by the K.G. Jebsen Centre.

Photos and a video from the trip are available here