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Vents Program NOAA
Researching the effects of underwater hydrothermal venting systems
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  Explorer Ridge  

image from Mystic virtual site Take a virtual tour of Magic Mountain on the southern Explorer Ridge!
Visit NOAA's Ocean Explorer's Magic Mountain Virtual Site. The fly-through and virtual realty panoramas were created by Vents Program scientists and collaborators. (2/2004)


  Explorer Ridge imageABE bathymetry image showing the crest of Southern Explorer Ridge. Purple and dark blue colors indicate deepest depths.
Explorer Ridge lies at the northern end of a chain of 3 spreading centers located off the west coast of North America. Explorer Ridge consists of one major segment, Southern Explorer Ridge, and several smaller segments. Magic Mountain is a large active hydrothermal vent area located on the Southern Explorer Ridge. Before 2002 Explorer Ridge was the least explored of the NE Pacific spreading centers, even though it was known to have robust hydrothermal activity and is seismically active.

In the summer of 2002, the Vents Program conducted 2 cruises to further survey Explorer Ridge (funded in part by NOAA's Ocean Exploration Program). The first expedition included detailed mapping using multibeam sonar systems from the ship and a near-bottom system using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named ABE as well as extensive water column surveys using CTDs to detect hydrothermal plumes. The second expedition used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named ROPOS to explore hydrothermally active sites on the seafloor based on the results from the first expedition.

For more information on Explorer Ridge see:
Ocean Exploration 2002 cruise

Expedition photo and video log
Recent Explorer Ridge seismic activity

updated 2/2004

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