Saturday, November 27, 2010

Alvin's last dives during our stay aboard Atlantis after 56 years of service !

The next generation Alvin RHOV
  OK so the word is there will be 6 dives in the Deep Sea Vehicle (DSV) ALVIN on our trip which begins Dec. 5th. We will board in Gulfport, MS and spend the next 8 days in and around the area of the sunken Deepwater Horizon. What we hope to find and what we actually do find will unfold right here on this blog. This is a history making event for two reasons. Number one it is the first series of manned dives into this area that begin this week. Number two it will be the last voyage of the "OLD" Alvin after 50 years of service. It will be re-built with a new sphere that has more windows and will hopefully achieve even greater depths than it's current record dive of over 14,764 feet (4,500 meters). Read here to discover more about ALVIN

  Mike and I will spend each evening going through the 6 hours worth of film that will be shot during each DSV dive. As new discoveries are made you will be right here with us as we log our findings and display some images as well. We will participate in 2-3 of the dives along with noted Penn State University scientist Chuck Fischer.

 Right now we really expect to find oil on the bottom. Things we do not want to find are majestic cetaceans such as Sperm whales or Whale Sharks who may have fallen victim to the oil on the surface. It's also possible that they may also have been the victims of contaminated prey that live in the Deep Scattering Layer (DSL) see diagram below

 Mother Jones article excerpt: "Some early observations of the effects of the Gulf catastrophe suggest the daily vertical migrations of the animals of the deep scattering layer may be blocked when they encounter plumes of oil and contaminants. If so, then trapped below a plume, the DSL fish and invertebrates would be unable to access their prey. Trapped above, they would be unable to escape their predators. Trapped within, they would probably die—and in their deaths, poison those who eat them. For the ocean, any loss of productivity in the deep scattering layer would be the biggest cataclysm of all—impoverishing the surface waters, depleting the coasts, cascading across the boundaries between ocean and land to denude both natural and human economies." ...

So we shall see very shortly...

For more info on Deep Sea Machines click here

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