Scientists at Sea  
Cruise Mission
  On September 8, a research team led by University of Hawaii scientist Jim Cowen will set sail from Seattle, WA on a 12-day expedition. (Dive site)

Their mission is to explore the biosphere of the sediment-buried basement (part of the ocean crust) on the flanks of the Juan de Fuca Ridge system, over 2.5 miles below the ocean surface. The scientists will sail aboard the 274-foot research vessel R/V Atlantis to their dive site in the Pacific and then descend to the seafloor in the famous deep sea submersible DSV Alvin. Both vessels are operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Cowen’s team joins another team of geophysicists, hydrogeologists and geochemists from several US and Canadian institutions. The researchers will be investigating fluids piped from deep boreholes, drilled by the IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program). Cowen’s expedition will be the first to utilize new, clean sampling techniques, delivering near-pristine hydrothermal fluids to a seafloor observatory from hot basalt rock, hundreds of meters below.


A new water sampler design in the process of filling.

Photo Gallery

Fast Facts

Project director
Research professor

Jim Cowen
  Overall, we are exploring the virtually unknown biosphere of the vast environment within the ocean basement, that part of the ocean crust that is buried under thick sediments. We know that fluids circulate within this environment... Full Story

  This figure depicts
the ocean crust
(basement plus
overlying sediments)...
A borehole observatory
installed in an
overpressured hole
drilled through...


Brian Glazer
When I was four years old I told my parents that I wanted to be a marine “biogilist”. I may not have been able to pronounce it correctly, but there was certainly some kind of attraction to the sea pretty early on...
Full Story
Our present
research expedition
is to test our
new sampling
instrument sled...
Mike Coale
working on the
precision machining
components of the