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U.S. scientists conducting Samoa area underwater research

RV Thomas G. Thompson
Source: RNZ Pacific

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A project  that is studying the interactions among the Tonga slab, the Lau back-arc basin and the Samoan mantle plume, using seismology, geochemistry and petrology is underway in local waters where a group of American scientists are currently studying Samoa's underwater volcanoes and seamounts while deploying seismometers to the ocean floor.

The American oceanographic research vessel, RV Thomas G. Thompson, berthed at the Matautu wharf at dawn on Wednesday last week according to a statement from the US Embassy in Apia.

The vessel took a scientific party of 20 scientists, graduate students, technicians, engineers and international observers, who will conduct a 28-day scientific research project focused on marine geology and geophysics in the Samoan volcanoes and seamounts, Tonga Trench and Lau Basin.

The statement also said the research cruise will deploy approximately 30 ocean bottom seismometers on the ocean floor until they are recovered 18 months later and to sample seafloor basalt samples for geochemical analysis.

The project is in collaboration with Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and an observer from the ministry will also be aboard the ship participating in the research.