Title

Navigational Infrastructure at the East Pacific Rise 9°50'N Area Following the 2005–2006 Eruption: Seafloor Benchmarks and Near-Bottom Multibeam Surveys

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Four seafloor benchmarks were deployed with ROV Jason2 at frequently visited areas along the northern East Pacific Rise (NEPR) ridge crest near 9°50'N, within the Ridge2000 EPR integrated study site (ISS) bull’s eye. When used in concert with established deep-ocean acoustic positioning techniques, these benchmarks provide navigational infrastructure to facilitate the integration of near-bottom data at this site by allowing efficient and quantitative coregistration of data and observations collected on multiple dives and over multiple cruises. High-resolution, near-bottom multibeam bathymetric surveys also were conducted along and across the ridge crest to provide a morphological and geological context for the benchmark areas. We describe the navigation and data processing techniques used to constrain the benchmark positions and outline operational details to effectively use benchmarks at this and other deep-ocean sites where multidisciplinary time series studies are conducted. The well-constrained positions of the benchmarks provide a consistent geospatial framework that can be used to limit navigational uncertainties during seafloor sampling and mapping programs and enable accurate spatial coregistration and integration of observations. These data are important to test a range of multidisciplinary hypotheses that seek to link geological, chemical, and biological processes associated with crustal accretion and energy transfer from the mantle to the hydrosphere at mid-ocean ridges.

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