Weekly Reports Polarstern

The Expedition PS101 from Tromsø to Bremerhaven

RV Polarstern has departed for the expedition PS101 from Tromsø on Sept. 9th, 2016 and is on the way to the survey area, the Karasik Seamount, at 87°N and 61°E. The expedition is dedicated to a systematic study of this giant seamount at Gakkel Ridge north of Franz-Joseph-Land, and to the exchange of several components of the FRAM Arctic observatory infrastructure. Seamounts are biological and biogeochemical hot spots, which attract abundant life due to their specific morphology, which influences currents and productivity. This seamount rises from more than 5000 m water depth to 500m and stretches out for 60 km perpendicular to the Gakkel Ridge. With spreading rates of less than 13 mm/y, the Gakkel Ridge is considered the slowest spreading mid-ocean ridge on earth. Due to its remoteness and ice-cover it has been poorly explored, and very few direct observations at the potential vent locations have been made. Previous Polarstern missions in 2001, 2011, 2015 have detected sponge gardens, remnants of chemosynthetic fauna and nearby temperature anomalies in the rift valley suggesting active hydrothermalism. A key focus of the expedition is to further investigate the seamount and its associated hydrothermalism, and to record its influence on fauna, biogeochemical processes and the seafloor ecosystem. State-of-the-art underwater technologies including the new WHOI Robot NUI will be used to study this extreme environment. Furthermore, the state of the sea ice and pelagic productivity in the Arctic autumn will be assessed to ground truth observations of the FRAM infrastructure. The expedition PS101 aims at an integrative analysis of the seamount system, to determine its baseline status at a time of rapid sea ice decline and increasing human access to the region. 

PS101 - Weekly Report No. 5 | 09. October - 16. October 2016

Discovering the ice-covered Arctic deep-sea: Of robots, minerals and microbes

[19. October 2016] 

The fifth week of expedition PS101 has made significant progress in the study of hot vents and seamounts under the ice-covered seas. The under ice robot NUI samples the seafloor.

PS101 – Weekly Report No. 4 | 2 October - 9 October 2016

New tools and concepts to observe the changing Arctic Ocean

Fig. 1: Newly grown sea ice (greyish areas) forming between old floes, which survived the previous summer melt.
[11. October 2016] 

Expedition PS101 tests, deploys and recovers several new types of instrumentation for the observation of ice, ocean and seafloor processes in the Central Arctic. A main aim is to observe and analyse the changes in the sea ice cover, and its causes and consequences for ocean and life.

PS101 - Weekly Report No. 3 | 26 September - 2 October 2016

Hot and Cold at Gakkel Ridge of the Central Arctic Basin

[04. October 2016] 

The third week of expedition PS101 was dedicated to the study of hydrothermal venting under the ice. The Arctic fall season has begun.

PS101 - Weekly Report No. 2 | 18 - 25 September 2016

Under Ice Life at Karasik Seamount

[26. September 2016] 

The second week of Expedition PS101 was dedicated to the discovery of the deep-sea ecosystem at Karasik Seamount. This giant seamount rises over 4000m above the Arctic basin and is teaming with life.

PS101 - Weeklý Report No. 1 | 10 - 18 September 2016


[19. September 2016] 

The aim of POLARSTERN expedition PS101 is to study the geophysical, geological, geochemical and biological processes at seamounts and sources of hydrothermalism at Gakkel Ridge of the Central Arctic. Such integrated studies of ultraslow oceanic spreading zones are rare, because the most extensive of these systems<ins></ins>, the Arctic Gakkel Ridge and the Southwest Indian Ridge, lie in poorly accessible areas.