Molokai Mapping Project

Heather & Jenn at sunset

The past 24 hours have been eventful for the MG&G team consisting of Jenn, Heather, Autumn and Abbey (mentored by Andrea and Maleen). Yesterday evening, the ship began our first transects off the Northern coast of Molokai, HI. The rough weather and poor timing around dinner shifted our plans and we traveled East towards Autumn’s transect first. 

Autumn was looking at submarine terraces, and Heather and Abbey were mapping the submarine canyons. The ship mapped north-south for the best resolution of the terraces, and east-west to look across the canyons in the shelf and slope environments. The data turned out really well, both the multibeam and the CHIRP (Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse) data look great! With the multibeam maps we can look at the features of the seafloor and the CHIRP can let us look beneath the seafloor to see any sediment deposits. After some data processing, there will be a lot of fantastic analyzations that can happen! 

Shipek grab samplers were deployed today. 4 samples were deployed. 3 of these were over two terraces, one shallower and one deeper. It takes a long time for the bucket to come back up so there is a buildup of suspense if there will be sediment at all. It took almost 2 hours for our second one to arrive, and we got…1 tablespoon. It wasn’t as much as we expected, but it’ll do. The MG&G team had a good laugh about it! 

We had much more success at the Ilio Point sediment sampling site—almost a full cup of red-ish, coarse sand to take back to Seattle. Currently, the ship is completing the last transect for Jenn’s project off the coast of Ilio Point. The direction of her transects are parallel to the coastline which means the ship is “in the troughs” rocking back and forth quite a bit. Between watching the wall of screens and chasing rolling water bottles, the final map has kept the team busy! 

We’re looking forward to processing all of our mapped data when we return to Seattle in March.

--Heather, Abbey, Autumn & Jenn