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Polar Mail from the Oden

Letters: July 12

During yesterday's dive, was Puma successful in detecting hydrothermal vent plumes, or was the primary mission of yesterday's dive to practice recovery?

If vents are detected in the coming days, when do you predict Camper will be deployed to explore them?

Good hunting!

Jeff J. Otto

Dear Jeff:

Thanks very much for your question.

The Puma was still undergoing engineering trials during its recent dive. Although programmed to go to the depth of a detected hydrothermal plume (at 2800 meters), it aborted at 1200 meters because it detected a problem with its propulsion. It then ascended, and the engineers successfully guided it to a hole in the ice pack made by the ship—so it was a good test of recovery as well!

We did deploy the Camper at the site in search of vents. We have to drift with the ice and were able to image the seafloor. It was covered in fairly thick sediment, with occasional outcrops of rock along scarps. We did not locate vents in the three dives that we were able to do with Camper.

We are now on our way to the next site, so hope you will continue to follow along! Stay tuned!

Susan Humphris