Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MU Researcher to Study Volcanism with Under-Ocean Sensors

07.02.2007
By recording activity where it happens under water, sensors will capture rare data

Earthquakes and volcanic activity occur when the tectonic plates that make up Earth's surface move apart or converge. While this activity is relatively easy to observe on land, it's more difficult to observe under the ocean, where most of it occurs. A University of Missouri-Columbia researcher will soon undertake a study to learn more about this process by placing sensors on a mid-ocean ridge called the East Pacific Rise.

"Right now, we can only listen from land using seismometers, or in the oceans using hydrophones, and try to find out when there is activity in a mid-ocean ridge," said Marie-Helene Cormier, assistant professor of geological sciences in MU¿s College of Arts and Science. "We might not know for a few days, and then it might take at least a week to get a ship to the site. If we want to study what's happening, it's very difficult to get accurate and timely information. Our goal is to put sensors in place so that we can record activity as it is happening. When we recover our sensors, we'll be able to study what was happening during those moments."

In mid February, Cormier and her colleagues, Spahr Webb and Roger Buck of Columbia University, will place sensors on the seafloor in multiple positions along the East Pacific Rise southwest of Mexico. The sensors will measure and record changes in the pressure of the water column above them. Cormier said the pressure of the water is expected to decrease during ridge activity because magma flows up between the two plates, creating new seafloor and raising the height of the sensors by a few inches. She and her team will collect data from the sensors while they are in place until they are removed from the ocean floor in 2009 or 2010. MU undergraduate students are expected to accompany Cormier on the research mission to learn more about geology and marine research.

"We expect there will be activity in this area while the sensors are there," Cormier said. "We'll measure, use computer models and compare data of the seascape from previous missions to this area to learn more about what's happening."

The data from this study could help scientists better understand what happens when tectonic plates move apart. This activity can cause underwater volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that result in the cycling of large quantities of seawater through the ocean floor, creating a nutrient-rich environment for bacteria and microorganisms. Cormier said the new magma and heat that come from below the earth's surface attract organisms to the new nutrient-rich, warm waters that are expelled from the seafloor.

"We want to understand more about what's happening under the oceans," Cormier said. "We can look at maps of Earth and see many details about the landforms above sea level, but we don't know nearly as much about what's under the ocean. Seventy percent of our land is under the ocean, so it's important to map out what landforms there are and understand what's happening there."

This research is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Through its "Research Experience for Undergraduates" initiative, the NSF also has approved some funds to assist the undergraduate students in their participation in the expedition.

Katherine Kostiuk | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov
http:// www.ridge2000.org
http://www.missouri.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core
24.05.2018 | University of Washington

nachricht Tropical Peat Swamps: Restoration of Endangered Carbon Reservoirs
24.05.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>