Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wally the crawler in fizzy Barkley Canyon

Science News, Oct. 19, 2013:  Real time monitoring of the seafloor in six underwater research stations connected to the Internet with fiber optic cables - this is the NEPTUNE observatory (Canada site).  Science News describes an amazingly broad research study of the biological, chemical, physical, geological and acoustical features of the ocean floor, including deployment of a robot named Wally that monitors methane bubbling up from a seafloor canyon more than 850 meters deep.  This issue is on the current reading rack now, adjacent to the circulation desk.  Stop in and read more: the potential for massive tsunamis if too much methane is released all at once, due to warming waters or a change in pressure; video footage of a northern elephant seal slurping up a hagfish in one gulp; seismometer recordings of both whale songs and an earthquake; the vitality and dynamism of ocean ridges.  The NEPTUNE observatory involves scientists around the world and its "online viewing portal" may be accessed by anyone. See Interactive Oceans at Univ. of Washington (NEPTUNE U.S.).

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