2015 Expedition

Panama Canal: Our Transit in 3 Minutes | Nautilus Live

Panama Canal Crossing & Transit to the Galapagos

May 21, 2015 to Jun 4, 2015 — NA060

Following our work in the Gulf of Mexico, the E/V Nautilus will transit from Galveston, TX to Panama and then transit through the Panama Canal, a historic crossing that signals the entry of Nautilus to its future work in the East Pacific region. The Panama Canal officially opened on August 15, 1914, one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. The shorter, faster, and safer route to the U.S. West Coast and to nations in and around the Pacific Ocean allowed those places to become more integrated with the world economy. 

After crossing the Panama Canal, the E/V Nautilus will transit to the Galapagos Islands. This transit will include a mapping survey at the site in the Galapagos Rift at 86°W where hydrothermal vents and chemosynthetic organisms were first discovered. The US Navy first mapped the area in 1976 with their brand new mapping technology, the Sonar Array Sounding System (SASS) on the USS Bowditch. The maps made by this formerly classified, cutting-edge technology (and a precursor to modern multibeam mapping systems), led scientists to one of the most revolutionary discoveries in science-- chemosynthetic life-forms. Their 12 kHz system produced 60 discrete depth points. By comparison the Nautilus multibeam echosounder, a 30 kHz system, can collect up to 864 soundings per ping and create far more detailed maps of the seafloor. In 2011 the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer remapped the vent site and found evidence of other unexplored vents, which Nautilus may visit on a following cruise leg. We will compare the original 1976 map, 2011 Okeanos map, and the new data to see what changes have occurred in the spreading axis over the last 38 years.

Meet the Team

Photo of Mark DeRoche
Deck Chief
Photo of Allison Fundis
Expedition Leader
Photo of Renato Kane
Photo of Clay Kilby
Photo of Jacquelyn Kubicko
Photo of Justin Lowe
Data Engineer
Photo of Juan Sebastian Mayorga
Science/Data Team
Photo of Julye Newlin
Photo of Mary Nichols
Video Engineer
Photo of Tammy Orilio
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Beverly Owens
Science Communication Fellow
Photo of Emil Petruncio
Science/Data Team
Photo of Susan Poulton
Photo of Nicole Raineault
Expedition Leader
Photo of Brian Raynes
Video Engineer
Photo of Sandra Witten
Partner and Sponsor Liaison
Photo of Regina Yopak


Album: Photos: Panama Canal Transit
Photos: Panama Canal Transit
13 photos
May 29, 2015
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