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 - 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.

PS100 - Weekly Report No. 7 | 29 August - 4 September 2016

The expedition comes to an end

[06. September 2016] 

Today we have completed our research programme at the Knipovich Ridge south of Fram Strait. We are now on the transit toward Tromsø, where we will arrive in the morning of 6 September.

PS100 - Weekly Report No. 6 | 22 - 28 August 2016

At the 79° Glacier

[29. August 2016] 

Yesterday we finished our investigations in the close vicinity of the 79°N glacier. Now R/V Polarstern is exploring the southern end of Westwind Trough on the inner shelf. We had already paid a visit to the outer part of this depression earlier in the expedition.

PS100 - Weekly Report No. 5 | 15 - 21 August 2016

Working in Norske Trog

[23. August 2016] 

Meanwhile R/V Polarstern has worked her way toward the inner shelf of Northeast Greenland. We have reached the transition from Norske Trough to Westwind Trough, which is where the 79°N glacier meets the sea. In this region, sea ice often prevails the whole year round.

PS100 - Weekly Report No. 4 | 8 - 14 August 2016

Back at the Greenland Ice Shelf

[16. August 2016] 

In sunny weather and light sea ice conditions we find ourselves once again on the shelf of Greenland  –this time in Norske Trough. In the beginning of the week we were able to accomplish most of the oceanographic, biological and biogeochemical workload planned along the zonal transect through central Fram Strait along 78°50’N. Subsequently we added to the mooring array deployed along the Greenwich Meridian in the second week of the expedition the southernmost mooring at 78°10’N.