2024 Expedition
Exploring Vailulu’u Seamount

Exploring Vailulu’u Seamount

August 10 – 28, 2024

Expedition Partners

Over the last three years, the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute has been advancing the integration of multiple exploration technologies aboard E/V Nautilus, and this year, we bring these new capacities to American Samoa. This 18-day telepresence-enabled expedition will utilize uncrewed surface vehicle DriXautonomous underwater vehicle Mesobot, and the Deep Autonomous Profiler Lander launched from E/V Nautilus to explore the dynamic seafloor and water column habitats surrounding Vailulu'u Seamount, in addition to midwater and other unexplored deep-sea habitats in the region.

Vailulu’u Seamount lies directly above the Samoa Hotspot and is the only hydrothermally active seamount in American Samoa. Discovered in 1975, Vailulu'u Seamount has been mapped by multiple expeditions since using high-resolution multibeam sonars, including by E/V Nautilus in 2019. This expedition will return for the first surveys of the area since a 2022 cluster of seafloor earthquakes. Using multiple underwater vehicles, the team will search for changes to the feature to help further understand this site and inform preparedness planning for local communities. Exploring these sites will also provide a gateway to captivate and engage broad audiences across American Samoa and the Pacific Island Region through telepresence-based exploration. Specific cruise objectives will continue to be refined as we work with local community and scientific partners.

This expedition is funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute.

Meet the Team