Transcript for Oceanfloor Legacy, segment 05 of 14
The research will take place during two scientific cruises on the U. S. G. S. research vessel Farnella. This two hundred and fifty foot converted fishing trawler is a round-the-clock research platform. Its community of scientists, technicians, and crew will make an important contribution towards solving the problem of dredging and understanding the effects of radioactive waste dumping.
The first cruise will involve mapping which will generate several sonar images or mosaics of the research area. They provide the scientists a broad picture of the sea floor. Bottom profiles will also be collected which can be combined with the mosaics to provide a three- dimensional perspective of the research area.
A second cruise will involve geological sampling intended to refine the scientists' interpretations of the sonar images. Sediment cores, still photos, and video images of the sea floor will help the scientists develop a model of the processes shaping the ocean bottom.
One of the important reasons for studying the Gulf of the Farallones, that is, both the continental shelf and the continental slope, is that there's very, very little known about this area both geologically and from an oceanographic viewpoint. There is a fair amount known to the north, and there's a fair amount known to the south, but very little work has been done specifically in this area.
The ship's navigators must rely on land-based and satellite navigation stations to precisely monitor the Farnella's position. Details about surveying or sampling progress and the location of the ship are recorded every fifteen minutes. For the collected data to be useful the navigation has to be accurate.