TRASNA Blog – Day 4

TRASNA Blog – Day 4

Written by:
Rachel Wireman Benjamin Thébaudeau Niall Keogh
Geologist Geologist PhD student
College of Charleston, USA Geological Survey of Ireland Marine and Freshwater Research Centre GMIT, Ireland

May 15, 2016

In keeping with the spirit of this expedition – to learn as much about our oceans as possible – several scientists on board the R/V Celtic Explorer have given or plan to give a short lecture in their area of study or expertise. Benjamin Thébaudeau spoke on the evening of the first day offshore about his work adding value to the seabed survey of the Porcupine Bank, a large offshore region located 150 to 250 km west of Ireland. His research involves using the already collected bathymetric data from the Infomar programme to map the seabed geomorphology, the seabed sediment type and explore the shallow geology, i.e. Quaternary formations, of the region.

Maria Judge with the Geological Survey of Ireland spoke last night about the basic geology and formation of the North Atlantic. She explained the significance of the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone, one of the only known double fracture zones in the Atlantic, and showed that it is possible for there to be serpentinisation driven hydrothermal venting – something we would love to find more evidence for during our survey.

Fabio Sacchetti, Marine Institute of Ireland, is due to speak this evening and give an overview of marine acoustic and sampling techniques. Later this week, Kiernan Craven, with Maynooth University and representing the Geological Survey of Ireland, will lecture on the glacial history of the Malin as interpreted by marine mapping.

The seabird surveyors on board have also been keeping busy. Their list has now reached a mighty 23 species of seabird with the highlight in the past few days being a south polar skua, which as the name suggests, is a species which breeds in the southern hemisphere. They are a frequent but uncommon visitor to the western Atlantic during spring and summer (i.e. their winter) and any sightings are met with great delight! Other notable seabirds seen in recent days include long-tailed skua, Sabine’s gull, Cory’s shearwater, and great shearwater.


Scientist Maria Judge’s cover slide of her lecture.


The crew of scientists aboard the R/V Celtic Explorer listen in as Benjamin Thébaudeau gives his lecture on the Porcupine Bank (image taken by Maria Judge).

A Sabine’s gull flies amongst arctic terns (image taken by Niall Keogh).