The SMARTIES project (aka Smooth regions at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Transform-Intersections under Extreme thermal gradientS) is sailing off today! We are leaving this afternoon to fly to the island of Mindelo where we will embark on the French research vessel “Pourquoi pas?” (indeed: why not!). We will be at sea for 6 weeks in the Equatorial Atlantic Ocean to explore the Eastern intersection of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with the Romanche Fracture Zone. Geologically speaking, this is a very special place. Where the mantle – making up 80% of the Earth’s volume and of which we know very little – is colder than normal. The mid-ocean ridge lies very deep here, more than 6000 meters below sea level. We will be using the submersible Nautile – a yellow submarine – to reach this depth, observe the tectonic structures and – most important of all – collect rocks for further analysis.
You can follow the position of the ship at this link:
In the next weeks, we will keep you updated with pictures and post of our activities and life at sea.