Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Day 5 - Arriving at the Abyss

Autosub is being prepped for its first 20-hour mission to the abyss. It will be taking some test photographs of the seabed to make sure the cameras are set up correctly, then it will start mapping the seabed using the side-scan and multibeam sonars to produce a high definition map of the seabed across our study site.

Prepping Autosub
It’s been a busy few days on board the RRS Discovery, with plenty of work going on to keep us busy around the clock! Since arriving at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain we’ve been mostly kept busy processing a steady stream of megacore samples which we’ll use to ground-truth the photographic and acoustic data that is collected by Autosub during its missions to the seafloor.

Over the next few days we’ll be blogging with details about the sediment cores collected and how they will improve our understanding of the spatial scale of benthic processes occurring at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain. The internet is extremely intermittent out here, so it's a case of trying to jump on it when we get a window!

Autosub on deck
The good weather is still holding though, which is good news since it means we can keep working pretty easily, and also makes it far easier to spot whales!

 By Rosanna Milligan
Fin whale