Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DAY TWO (9/18/12)

The mapping continues.  In the middle of the night we made it to the southern end of our initial route for multibeam mapping and turned around after collecting data at Mysterious Bank to head back north for the second pass.  The science party continued 2-hour data processing shifts continuously as the equipment beneath the boat continued to collect more raw data.  Data processing is an important precursor to mapping and planning tomorrow’s ROV dives.
Liana Lerma and Maureen Trnka process multibeam data.
Image credit: Elizabeth Shanks

On the R/V Falkor, the multibeam data collection equipment is housed in a gondola (basket-like attachment) fixed 50 centimeters beneath the hull.  The equipment includes a transmitter that sends out several acoustic signals (“multibeam”) that are reflected off the seafloor and captured by a transducer.  Based on the time the acoustic signal takes to bounce off the bottom and return to the mother vessel, the depth at an exact position can be calculated.  The resulting high-resolution depth, or “bathymetry,” data describe the seafloor at a very fine scale, which allows scientists to create 3-D imagery of the sites.
When not processing data, scientists continued to record wildlife sightings (dolphins, sea turtles, flying fish, and sea birds) from the observation deck.  Additionally, the scientists started a Science at Sea Seminar (SASS) series in the library.  Dr. André Droxler kicked off the SASS series with a talk about geological origin of the South Texas Banks.
Dr. David Hicks (UT Brownsville) on observation deck.
Image credit: Harriet Nash
One of the several pods of dolphins spotted near the vessel's bow.
Image credit: Elizabeth Shanks

Dr. André Droxler (Rice University) kicks off SASS series in library.
Image credit: Maureen Trnka
Day 2 Sunset
Image credit: Maureen Trnka
Written by Harriet Nash for Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

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