Collaborative Research: Quantifying Hydrothermal Flow and Heat Transfer Using Acoustic Imaging in the NEPTUNE Canada Cabled Observatory at Main Endeavour Field, JdFR

Project Details


Due to the difficulty in working in the deep sea, especially around high-termperature hydrothermal vents that belch hot, corrosive, metal-rich fluids into ocean, novel instumentation needs to be developed and tested so important thermal and chemical fluxes associated with these systems can be determined. This research involves the testing, implementation, and data recovery from a unique acoustic sonar system (COVIS) that uses acoustic sonar and doppler phase shifts to make quantitative measurements of hydrothermal vent plume rise rates, volume fluxes, and plume shapes and distributions with time. Software will also be generated to enable processing of the resulting data and the extraction of heat fluxes, both in the plume emmanating from the hydrothermal vent and its rising thermal plume and from the diffuse flow of hot water along the seafloor around the vent. Field testing will occur at the Grotto hydrothermal vent cluster at the Endeavor vent field on the Juan de Fuca Ridge which is presently part of the Canadian mid-ocean ridge monitoring station. Resulting quantitative acoustic images of the plumes will be used to generate seafloor heat flux values that are fundamental to understanding the dynamics of hydrothermal venting. Three dimensional images of the hydrothermal plumes coming from the Grotto vents will also be generated. Project goals include determining linkages between time-varying flow measurements on the seafloor and fluxes higher in the water column. Broader impacts of the work include building infrastructure for oceanographic science in terms of developing hardware and software that will complement and potentially be implemented on NSF's newly installed Ocean Observing System infrastructure at the vent fields at Axial Volcano on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, which is slated to be instrumented in 2013. Additional impacts include international collaboration with Canadian scientists, support of an institution in an EPSCoR state (New Jersey), support of two PIs from groups under-represented in the sciences, training of graduate and undergraduate students, and public outreach through the NEPTUNE Canada and NOAA outreach engines.

Effective start/end date9/1/128/31/17


  • National Science Foundation: $351,030.00


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