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 Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>