Monday, September 17, 2012

DAY ONE (9/17/12)

The R/V Falkor left the Port of Corpus Christi with near-perfect weather conditions.  During the trip to the exploration sites, the team celebrated Dr. Thomas Shirley’s 20th birthday at sea during his 30-year career with a gourmet birthday cake and live musical entertainment.  Dr. Shirley, Chief Scientist of the expedition, will lead the team by directing underwater multibeam mapping, surface faunal observations, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) 3-D videography, and geological and biological samples collected by the ROV.
Crew member Ramón sings for crew member Nona and
Dr. Shirley, who share the same birthday. Image credit: Harriet Nash
Image credit: Harriet Nash

While in transit, the science party convened to finalize the route for multibeam data collection of all high-priority sites after a data processing lesson from SOI’s marine technology crew.  Three passes, with 10-percent overlap, will generate data swaths that will be processed and mapped to produce detailed 3-D images of the banks.  The vessel arrived at the first site, Bad Mud Bank, at 1800.  The multicolor imagery of Baker Bank, however, generated the most excitement among scientists in the video control room on the first day due to the site surface complexity evident immediately upon the first pass over the site.  Dr. Shirley assigned each team member 2-hour shifts of data processing for the first 36 hours of multibeam data collection at the South Texas Banks.  By the end of day one, with only six hours of site-specific multibeam data collection, we already completed the first of three data swaths for the most important sites.
Dr. Wes Tunnell processes raw multibeam data.
Image credit: Harriet Nash; Schmidt Ocean Institute

Day 1 Sunset
Image credit: Harriet Nash
Written by Harriet Nash for Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi


  1. Great blog! Any thoughts on why there was so much complexity seen at Baker Bank?

    1. Adelaide: Baker Bank is an ancient drowned reef, so there still exists a lot of complexity as far as the topography and diversity.

  2. The spurs and grooves of the ancient drowned reef as well as continuous erosion, bioturbation, and sediment transport contribute to the rugosity of the site. Just you wait until we reveal the 3D maps of our next sites!