ChEss Team Explores Gulf of Mexico After Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, the oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The well it was drilling continued to gush oil for nearly three months, eventually causing one of the worst oil spills in history. When it was finally stopped, the well had poured millions of gallons of oil into the water.
Dive and Discover’s Expedition 13 will take you beneath the surface of the Gulf to investigate life on the bottom of the ocean and to look for signs of impact by the oil on deep-sea ecosystems. In addition to fouling beaches, threatening wildlife, and shutting down fisheries, scientists are concerned that there could also be damage to the little-known animals and the communities in the deep ocean.
The expedition will feature six dives by the submersible Alvin to carefully document the bottom and to collect samples of animals and sediment. Scientists will also send the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry out on overnight missions to map and photograph the bottom. This expedition follows a cruise with the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason in October, during which many of the same scientists on Expedition 13 discovered dozens of dead and dying corals just seven miles from the Deepwater Horizon well. With Alvin and Sentry working in tandem, this team will revisit that site as well as seek out unexplored places on the ocean floor to learn whether the oil spill did, in fact, affect animals in the deep. The cruise leaves December 6 and returns December 14, 2010.
Expedition 13 also marks the last dives with the submersible Alvin before it undergoes a complete overhaul. When Alvin returns to the water in 2012, it will help scientists produce even more eye-opening research in the deep ocean.
To follow the cruise and receive daily updates, visit the website here.