Support of Gulf of Mexico Hydrate Research Consortium: Activities to Support Establishment of a Sea Floor Monitoring Station Project. Progress Report: June-September 2005
Description: The Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium (GOM-HRC) was established in 1999 to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research. The primary objective of the group has been to design and emplace a remote monitoring station or sea floor observatory (MS/SFO) on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission, although unavoidably delayed by hurricanes and other disturbances, necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. Development of the station has always included the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. This possibility has recently achieved reality via the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology's (NIUST) solicitation for proposals for research to be conducted at the MS/SFO. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in the arena of gas hydrates research. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. The observatory has achieved a microbial dimension in addition to the geophysical and geochemical components it had already included. Initial components of the observatory, a probe that collects pore-fluid samples and another that records sea floor temperatures, were deployed in Mississippi Canyon 118 in May of 2005. Follow-up deployments, planned for fall 2005, have had to be postponed and the use of the vessel M/V Ocean Quest and its two manned submersibles sacrificed due to the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina (and later, Rita) on the Gulf Coast. Every effort is …
Date: May 18, 2006
Creator: Higley, Paul; Woolsey, J. Robert; Goodman, Ralph; Asper, Vernon; Mizaikoff, Boris; Davis, Angela et al.
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