Alaska Cruise July 2004

Using JASON II  on a cruise in July, 2004, we mapped and sampled the seafloor in an area of the Aleutian margin.  Movement of seafloor sediments in the area were thought by some to be the cause of the 1946 tsunami that caused appreciable damage in Alaska and Hawaii.  Our mapping efforts revealed no geological features indicative of the slide predicted by some Tsunami modelers, making the 1946 tsunami even more mysterious.  We discovered new deep-sea coral habitats methane seeps, and sampled the mosaic of environments in this unexplored region.  In collaboration with Jon Martin (Univ. of Florida), we will examine the Sr and stable isotope signatures of modern and fossil foraminifera collected on the cruise.  We hope to understand the factors, including disturbance, which generate seafloor ecosystem mosaic in the submarine canyon systems.  These data will also help further calibrate faunal and geochemical proxy information from benthic foraminifera.
This project was funded by NOAA's National Undersea Research Program through the West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (NOAA-NURC). Support for ISU student travel was also provided by an ISU experiential learning grant from the Experiential Learning Committee,and the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. This project is a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort with a number of researchers, including Lisa Levin, Joris Gieskes and Mike Tryon from Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Jon Martin from the University of Florida; Wiebke Ziebis from the University of Southern California; and Gerard Fryer of the University of Hawaii.