Return to Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents

During our NA151 expedition to the waters off British Columbia, Ocean Exploration Trust and Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) have returned to one of the most popular deep-sea geological sites in the Northeast Pacific: Endeavour Hydrothermal Vent Field! At this site along the northern segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, magma wells up from spreading tectonic plates, creating new crust and the extremely unique underwater ecosystem of hydrothermal vents. These vents can experience temperatures over 400°C/750°F and they deposit dissolved minerals on the seafloor that build up to become large chimneys over time. While at this site, we assisted ONC with various seafloor observatory maintenance tasks including swapping and deploying new tools, experiments, and sensors that are continuously monitoring and contributing to research focused on this dynamic environment. 

As part of ONC's large network of observatories across Canada, the 800-kilometer (500-mile) loop of fiber optic cable located off the west coast of Vancouver Island that connects the Endeavour Hydrotherm Vent Field allows researchers to study seafloor phenomena through continuous long-term observations 24/7. Long-term data is critical in understanding seafloor habitats like spreading centers, the continental shelf, slope, submarine canyons, and abyssal plains, and how they are changing.