Trial by fire for R/V Ramón Margalef
new multi-purpose research vessel R/V Ramón Margalef, which
belongs to the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (IEO), was undergoing
sea trials when the Science Ministry decided to move it to the Canary
Islands to follow up on the activity of the volcano on El Hierro
Island. The vessel was only delivered a few weeks previously, on 23
of September 2011, so with such a challenging first mission, this
really was a trial by fire.
During the first week
of the mission, the goal was to map the volcano so researchers had
a clear view of its footprint. It didn't take long for the team to
build a good picture of the volcano using the data acquired with
the Kongsberg EM 710 multibeam echo sounder system installed on board
R/V Ramón Margalef.
R/V Ramón Margalef
After the volcano was located, the EM 710 was used to measure dimensions
such as cone height from the bottom and diameter. The IEO team compared
this data with a dataset from the same area acquired on board R/V
Hespérides using the Kongsberg EM 12 in 1998, in order to calculate
how much the volcano had risen.
The team then went on to research
the gasses and water column using the six different frequencies of
the Simrad EK60 scientific echo sounder and Simrad ME70 multibeam
echo sounder. Once the area was fully mapped the ROV operations started,
which enabled the team to view high quality video of the sea bottom
around the volcano captured by high definition cameras supplied by
Kongsberg Maritime in Aberdeen.
The vessel will normally perform
different oceanography missions launching various sensors, with vessel
navigation supported by Kongsberg Maritime's K-Pos Dynamic Positioning
and K-Bridge Integrated Bridge System.
So not only was this
first mission a trial by fire for R/V Ramón Margalef, but the
Kongsberg Maritime Full Picture delivery onboard has been put
through its paces too. The systems performed reliably and accurately
from the offset, enabling the team to acquire the data they needed
to make the first mission for R/V Ramón Margalef a great success.
This screen capture
shows the location of the volcano. It is taken from the Kongsberg
EM 170 hydrographic multibeam echo sounder. Image courtesy of R/V
These echogram screen captures
shows the gases emitted by the volcano. It is taken from the Simrad
EK60 scientific echo sounder using different frequencies. Image courtesy
of R/V Ramón Margalef.
The seabed outside
the El Hierro island in 1998 mapped with the Kongsberg EM 12 system
on R/V Hesperides. Image courtesy of R/V Ramón Margalef.
The same seabed location
outside the El Hierro island in 2011 mapped with the Kongsberg EM
710 system. The new volcano with crater and lava flow can easily be
identified. Image courtesy of R/V Ramón Margalef.