Hot Vents in an Ice-Covered Ocean

Follow us to the Aurora vent field between 19 Sept to 16 Oct on board R/V Kronprins Haakon! Click on the blog for updates.

An international and multidisciplinary team of 36 scientists and engineers, with the assistance of the officers and crew of the vessel, will conduct the first full-scale multidisciplinary investigation of deep (4000 m) hydrothermal vents under permanent ice cover in the Arctic, investigating the Aurora vent field (82.5°N) in the Gakkel Ridge. These vent field was discovered in 2014 during the German AURORA cruise but only less than 1 min of video is available. The HACON cruise will study the Aurora vents with the ROV Nereus Under Ice (WHOI, with funding from NOAA-OE), the towed Ocean Floor Observation and Bathymetry System (AWI) and a series of other equipment.

Images: C. German, copyright WHOI; A. Purser, copyright AWI

HACON will unravel the geochemical and physical processes that shape the Aurora biological communities and assess the role played by the Gakkel Ridge in connectivity of chemosynthesis-based ecosystems between ocean basins. The project will provide empirical robust data of a pristine system prior to expected climate-change variations and increased human activities in the Arctic region.