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Revelle Blog #11 Preparing for Round Three

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Alec Yates is a Research Assistant at Victoria University of Wellington. He is currently working and reporting on the research occurring along the Hikurangi subduction zone on board the US research vessel Revelle.

There is little rest for the US research ship Roger Revelle as preparations begin to depart on the last of three scientific voyages studying New Zealand’s largest fault, the Hikurangi subduction zone.

If you’ve been following Dr. Claire Mckinley’s recent updates, you may know that the ship has only just returned from its previous voyage, where a team led by Dr Evan Solomon of the University of Washington spent five weeks studying fluid conditions within the fault zone.

Now we’re preparing to set off again for the final leg of R/V Roger Revelle’s New Zealand tour, with a fresh team led by Dr Samer Naif of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University.

With the new team comes a new blogger, which is where I fit into the piece. Normally, I work as a Research Assistant at Victoria University of Wellington, where I completed my Master’s in Geophysics last year. This time, though, my official duties on board are to share the ships activities through posts like this one. I will certainly look to get involved in the science where I can though!

The plan for this voyage is one of recovery. During the first voyage late last year, a number of electromagnetic instruments were placed onto the seafloor along the Hikurangi subduction zone (42 to be exact), all of which need to be collected.

These have been recording naturally occurring electrical and magnetic signals that begin in the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as recording some controlled source surveys -I’ll get into the what and why in a bit more detail later on. I expect we will gather everyone together tomorrow morning before departure to discuss the science objectives in more detail.

In the mean-time, many of the scientists taking part, both from New Zealand and overseas, have now arrived in Auckland and are assisting in preparations to leave tomorrow. This includes loading four pressure sensors on board that will be deployed by a team from GNS in the Northern portion of the fault zone- more on this later.

There are quite a few people on board who are on their first cruise, myself included, so we are slowly getting to grips with the new onboard routines.

Beyond the science, I am definitely keen to answer the question of whether I am prone to sea sickness! Last I checked, it was looking like we might avoid the worst of tropical cyclone Oma, so hopefully my introduction will be a gentle one.

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