background vent image
NOAA logo Vents Program Hydrothermal Plume Studies
. RAFOS Plume Tracking
background banner image Plume Studies HOME Plume Studies staff Plume Studies publications background banner image



map of RAFOS track and plume, click for animationTracking an Event Plume
Gorda Ridge, 1996

An early response cruise to the site of the Gorda Ridge eruption in 1996 found a large event plume in March, and a second cruise found a different event plume in April. This second event plume became the first to be seeded and tracked with a neutrally buoyant RAFOS drifter float. The RAFOS drifter tracked the eddy-like rotation of event plumes and allowed us, for the first time, to resample the same plume 2 months later. Little chemical change was found between sampling periods, suggesting that event plumes have a long residence time as discrete entities in the deep ocean. The Gorda Ridge event was unusual in another way, in that venting was extinguished within 3 months of the eruption, much faster than at either Cleft or CoAxial. Click the image to view an animation of the float track from April to June, 1996.

Lupton, J.E., E.T. Baker, N. Garfield, G.J. Massoth, R.A. Feely, J.P. Cowen, R.R. Greene, and T.A. Rago (1998): Tracking the evolution of a hydrothermal event plume with a RAFOS neutrally buoyant drifter. Science, 280, 1052-1055.

Vents Home
Privacy Policy
DOC / NOAA / OAR / PMEL / Vents Program
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Building 3
Seattle, WA 98115-6349
black bar image
Hatfield Marine Science Center
2115 SE Oregon State University Dr.
Newport, OR 97365
email feedback