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Echoes from the deep

How much volcanic and earthquake activity is there on the ultraslow-spreading Gakkel Ridge? Scientists have little idea because they have been unable to record earthquakes in this remote region. Large earthquakes on the ridge can be detected by seismometers far away in the global seismic network, but they don’t occur frequently enough to get sufficient data. Smaller earthquakes, magnitude 2 or less, occur several times a day, but they are too small to be “heard” by distant seismic stations. While Oden is in the neighborhood, Vera Schlindwein from the Alfred-Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany is installing seismometers on ice floes to record some of those mini-earthquakes over several days. She will retrieve them before we leave the area. Even this bit of data will allow her to begin comparing the Gakkel Ridge’s seismicity to faster-spreading, better-documented ridges elsewhere in the word.

Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »

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