What is Apply To Sail?
During the summer of 2013, the Cascadia Initiative Expedition Team led six oceanographic expeditions to recover and redeploy ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) across the Cascadia subduction zone and Juan de Fuca plate. The Cascadia Initiative (CI) is an onshore/offshore seismic and geodetic experiment to study questions ranging from megathrust earthquakes to volcanic arc structure to the formation, deformation and hydration of the Juan de Fuca and Gorda plates with the overarching goal of understanding the entire subduction zone system. The Cascadia Initiative Expedition Team is a team of scientists charged with leading the oceanographic expeditions to deploy and recover CI OBSs and developing the associated Education and Outreach effort.
Who Should Apply?
Students and early career scientists were encouraged to apply to join the cruises via the Cascadia Initiative Expedition Team’s Apply to Sail Program. The goal of this call for open participation was to help expand the user base of OBS data by providing opportunities for students and scientists to directly experience at-sea acquisition of OBS data. Participants were required to have a strong interest in learning field techniques, be willing to work long hours at sea assisting in OBS deployment, recovery and preliminary data processing and have an interest in working with the data collected.
What Should I Expect While Participating in Apply To Sail?
In total, there were 51 applicants to the Apply to Sail Program from the US and 4 other countries; 21 graduate students as well as a few undergraduate students, postdocs and young scientists from the US and Canada were chosen to join the crew. The cruises lasted from 6 to 14 days in length. OBS retrievals comprised the three first legs, of which the first two were aboard the Research Vessel Oceanus. During each of the retrievals, multiple acoustic signals were sent while the vessel completed a semi-circle around the OBS to accurately determine its position, a final signal was sent to drop the seismometer's anchor, and finally the ship and crew waited as the OBS traveled at around 40 meters a minute to the surface. The entire retrieval process could take anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours for each seismometer. The third retrieval leg was aboard the Research Vessel Atlantis and utilized the submersible Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Jason. The ROV was used to recover 12 of the 30 seismometers for this last retrieval mission. The final three legs were OBS deployments conducted with the assistance of the Research Vessel Oceanus. The seismometers were dropped in a desired location and allowed to sink to the ocean bottom. The ship would then obtain an exact location of the deployed seismometer using the same method described above. Participants will share their newfound knowledge of everyday life at sea and learning about the science behind deploying and retrieving OBSs. Even though participants were on different legs of the 2013 Cascadia Expedition, they all shared similar experiences. Some of the most memorable moments include amazing food, learning about the different components of an ocean bottom seismometer, and some of the most beautiful blue water.
How Do I Apply?
Cascadia Initiative Expedition Team has already completed all legs of the available Apply To Sail cruises for this year. Check back in to see if additional funding will allow for the Apply To Sail program to continue in 2014.