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Expeditions to the Kermadec Arc, Mariana Arc and Explorer Ridge
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  Ring of Fire Expeditions:  
  Marianas map
Map showing the submarine volcanoes explored on the 2006 expedition. (click for full-size)

Submarine Ring of Fire 2006

Mariana Arc
April 18-May 13, 2006

NOAA's Ocean Explorer Ring of Fire 2006
2006 Expedition Videos/Fly-Throughs
The 2006 expedition is the third in a series of explorations of the submarine volcanoes lying along the Mariana Arc, extending from south of the island of Guam northward more than 800 nautical miles (1450 km).
View final cruise report: pdf (9MB)

  Media Links:
Nature (5/24/06): Long-term eruptive activity at a submarine arc volcano
NPR All Things Considered (5/24/06): Video Captures Underwater 'Brimstone and Fire'
NOAA Press Release: Explorers Discover Undersea Volcano's Long-term Eruption

New Zealand American Submarine Ring of Fire
Kermadec globe map NZASRoF'05

April 3 - May 10, 2005
NOAA's Ocean Explorer Ring of Fire 2005
The 2005 expedition explored the Kermadec Arc, northeast of New Zealand using the University of Hawaii's PISCES submersibles aboard the R/V Ka'imikai-o-Kanaloa.
View cruise summary


Return to the Mariana Arc-
March 27 - April 18, 2004 (view summary)
Multimedia site (videos, fly-throughs, virtual realities)
Visit NOAA's Ocean Explorer Ring of Fire 2004
View final Cruise report (pdf)

First dives discover the hottest spots on any submarine volcano, a 60', smoking crater on NW Rota volcano!

  2004 expedition images:      
  smokey crater image   sulfur blobs on ROV   Rota 1 fly-through movie  
  Smoke billows from crater, click to see video (10MB)   Molten sulfur deposits cover ROV   NEW->Fly-through movie of NW Rota Quicktime (*.mov): 1MB | 4MB
Wndows Media : .4MB | 4MB 

Visit the 2004 Multimedia Gallery for all the videos, virtual reality and fly-throughs!

The 2004 expedition used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to explore some of the 50 submarine volcanoes mapped on the 2003 expedition. Of utmost interest were the 10 volcanoes determined to be hydrothermally active.

Media Link-
NPR All Things Considered (6/24/04): Watching an Undersea Volcano


Initial Survey of the Mariana Submarine Volcanoes-
globe imageFebruary 9 – March 5, 2003 (view 2003 summary)
View final Cruise report (pdf)
NOAA's Ocean Explorer Ring of Fire 2003 site

An interdisciplinary team of scientists explored the submarine volcanoes of the Mariana Arc lying north of Guam in the western Pacific from February 9 to March 5, 2003. It is here that most of the ocean crust, born along the mid-ocean ridges millions of years ago in the eastern Pacific (see Explorer Ridge expeditions), is “recycled” back into the earth’s mantle as the ocean floor descends into the Mariana trench. A portion of the ocean crust remelts and rises to the surface behind the trench along a line of more than 40 submarine volcanoes and volcanic islands extending north of Guam for more than 1000 kilometers. This was the first dedicated exploration of the submarine hydrothermal systems of the Mariana Arc.

  map of recent seismic events at Explorer Ridge
Recent seismic activity detected by SOSUS at Explorer Ridge. Click image for larger view and event details.

Explorer Ridge Expeditions-
July 21 - August 5, 2002
(view Leg 2 summary)
June 28 - July 11, 2002
(view Leg 1 summary)
NOAA's Ocean Explorer Ring of Fire 2002 site

In June to August 2002, a team made up of U. S. and Canadian geologists, chemists, and biologists conducted two expeditions to the Explorer Ridge, a section of the world-girdling Mid-Ocean Ridge, to investigate the birth of new ocean crust off the coast of western North America, part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire".

New earth crust is continuously generated along the Mid-Ocean Ridge system, a 60,000 km long volcanic system encircling the globe.

This "crust" is eventually recycled back into the earth's mantle at the deep ocean trenches, such as the Marianas. In this sense, the ocean floor can be likened to a giant conveyor belt, with new ocean floor continuously created at mid-ocean ridges and ultimately recycled at island arcs and deep-ocean trenches.

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NOAA Vents Program Exploring the Submarine Ring of Fire