Why are we working at 9 North?
In 1991 my advisor, Rachel Haymon, dived into the middle of an eruption on the East Pacific Rise at 9N. The hydrothermal field that had been there before was obliterated, covered by glassy black lava that had poured from the mid-ocean ridge.
The water was full of bacteria, but most other life was dead, killed by the lava flows. That site came to be known as "Tube Worm Barbecue." Although the hydrothermal field had been wiped out, it allowed scientists to watch the hydrothermal field to rebuild itself from the beginning.
Since 1991 scientists have made many visits to 9N to study the changing water chemistry, geology, and biology, in order to better understand how hydrothermal systems function through time.
As part of RIDGE 2K's inititative to study hydrothermal systems, 9N, the Juan de Fuca Ridge, and the Lau Basin have been chosen as Integrated Study Sites. Our cruise is collecting data from 9N for a set of time-series data that can teach us about how hydrothermal systems on a fast-spreading ridge change through time.
For more information about 9N, please visit the official cruise website