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Scientific Scope and Summary of the Arctic Gakkel Vents (AGAVE) Expedition

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Reves-Sohn, R. , Edmonds, H. , Humphris, S. , Shank, T. , Singh, H. , Helmke, E. , Jakuba, M. , Kunz, C. , Liljebladh, B. , Linder, J. , Murphy, C. , Nakamura, K. , Sato, T. , Schlindwein, V. , Tausendfreund, M. , Upchurch, L. , Willis, C. and Winsor, P. (2007): Scientific Scope and Summary of the Arctic Gakkel Vents (AGAVE) Expedition , AGU Fall Meeting, San Francicso, December .
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Abstract:

The AGAVE project is an international collaboration between scientists in the United States, Sweden, Japan, and Germany with the overarching scientific objective of studying the geological, chemical, and biological characteristics of hydrothermal venting on the Gakkel Ridge, the most slowly diverging tectonic plate boundary on Earth. The AGAVE expedition took place on the IB Oden from July 1 - August 10, 2007, and occupied two field sites where evidence of hydrothermal venting had been detected in the water column during the 2001 Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge Experiment (AMORE). The first site (~85°N, 7.5°E) is characterized by peridotite outcrops on normal fault scarps, while the second site (~85.5°N, 85°E) is characterized by constructional basaltic volcanism, thereby allowing for a comparative study of hydrothermal processes at two segments of an ultra-slow spreading ridge with contrasting geological and tectonic settings. Five primary oceanographic assets were employed during the expedition; a high-resolution, ship-mounted multi-beam bathymetry system, a CTD/rosette system for surveying and sampling the water column, the PUMA autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for fine-scale water column surveys, the JAGUAR AUV for near-bottom geophysical and photographic surveys, and the CAMPER wireline system for acquiring digital images and samples of the deep seafloor. The combined results from the expedition are significantly expanding our understanding of volcanic and hydrothermal processes on the Gakkel Ridge. Important initial results include the discovery of the Asgard volcanic chain at the 85°E segment, the discovery of extensive microbial mats covering these new volcanoes, the discovery of basaltic glass fragments covering large portions of the seafloor near the volcanoes, and detailed mapping and sampling of water column plumes.

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