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Landmark voyage to help uncover Earth’s deep secrets

Landmark voyage to help uncover Earth’s deep secrets

the shipboard science party departing Hobart on 8 October. Credit: Megan Hartog

Full article issued by The Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Tasmania.

A research voyage is underway, led by ARC-supported researchers, that will shed new light on Macquarie Island’s underlying structure and geological evolution, while also enabling monitoring of future earthquakes and tsunamis that could affect Australia and New Zealand. 

Led by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science's (IMAS) Professor Mike Coffin and including scientists from the ANU, the voyage on Australia’s national research vessel RV Investigator will allow researchers to produce the first high-resolution maps of the seafloor surrounding Macquarie Island, much of it lying within the island’s Nature Reserve and Macquarie Island Marine Park.

At the same time, ANU scientists led by Professor Hrvoje Tkalčić are deploying seismometers on the seafloor around the island to allow them to investigate the region’s crustal and mantle structure as well as its seismicity, as part of a 2020 Discovery Project.

Data from the seismometers, which will be recovered in late 2021 or early 2022 after spending one year on the sea floor, will be used to characterise the 3-D structural, thermal, and compositional nature of the oceanic crust and sub-crustal lithosphere along the tectonic structure known as the Macquarie Ridge Complex, using novel lithospheric seismic imaging.

The researchers sailed from Hobart on 8 October, and are continuing to post updates from the ship via voyage blogs at the IMAS news website.


Image: the shipboard science party departing Hobart on 8 October. Image Credit: Megan Hartog, CSIRO.

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