LISTEN: Alvin, 60-Year-Old WHOI Submarine, Guiding Exploration Of Pacific Hotspots

Photo from WHOI depicting a hydrothermal vent in the Pacific.

WOODS HOLE – The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is continuing to celebrate the 60-year anniversary of the manned submarine “Alvin”. 

Back in March, Alvin was part of the discovery of five new hydrothermal vents in the deep sea of the eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean.

The research trip in the East Pacific Rise, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, first instructed companion WHOI robot vehicle Sentry to map the area at night. Then Alvin dove down in the daytime to find the geyser-like vents.

Daniel Fornari, a co-lead scientist on the expedition from the Institute, explains the mission which took place off the coast of Mexico:

“This particular area is an area that we know has erupted volcanically twice over the last 30 years, and so we are studying the run-up to what we believe will be the next eruption, and we’ve been studying this process mostly through looking at the chemistry and the temperatures of the hydrothermal vents that are along the crest of the mid-ocean ridge.” 

Dr. Fornari says another expedition to this area is planned in 2025. You can listen to the full interview by clicking the media player above. 

Scientists diving in Alvin first explored hydrothermal vents in 1977, which was 13 years after the vessel was commissioned.

By Jim McCabe, NewsCenter

About Jim McCabe

Jim McCabe is a native of (suburban) Philadelphia who has lived in New England and covered Cape Cod news since 2016. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the Cape-based Seahawks Hockey Club .
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