R/V Roger Revelle will embark on an ambitious research mission sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation to study the physical basis for seismicity in the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, New Zealand during May/June 2015.
Led by Chief Scientist Robert Harris and co-investigator Anne Trehu (both professors at Oregon State University's College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences), this project will address fundamental questions about seismicity and deformation processes on a subduction plate interface, and how they may be linked to hydrologic and geodynamic processes. Also sailing aboard R/V Roger Revelle will be students who will learn a range of techniques, from marine data collection and analysis to numerical modeling.
To study these processes, heat flow and seismic reflection data will be collected offshore the northern and southern Hikurangi margin to develop a process-based understanding of the thermal structure of the subduction zone. The northern area is underlain by an aseismic creep-dominated subduction interface and is the site of repeated shallow (< 15 km depth) slow slip earthquakes (SSEs). The southern field area contrasts strongly, with deep (> 30 km) SSEs updip inferred to be associated with interseismic coupling on the plate interface, similar to Cascadia. Acquisition of fifteen high-resolution transects will increase the number of available heat flow measurements from this continental margin by 2 orders of magnitude. Using sediment seismic velocities and thermal conductivities obtained from this experiment, heatflow coverage will be expanded using regional observations of hydrate-related bottom simulating horizons.
Click here to go to the expedition blog, where you can follow the progress of the expedition and learn more about the science, shipboard activities, and people involved.
Research vessel operations at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are supported by the National Science Foundation (Awards 1119644, 1212770, 1227624, and 1321002).
R/V Roger Revelle is operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography under a charter agreement with the Office of Naval Research. Roger Revelle is one of six major oceanographic research vessels owned by the U.S. Navy and operated within the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System as shared-use research facilites.