HMNZS Wellington Kermadec '15 cruise report

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de Ronde, C.E.J.; Caratori Tontini, F.; Timm, C.; Walker, S.L. 2017 HMNZS Wellington Kermadec '15 cruise report. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2016/74 28 p.; doi: 10.21420/G27G6C

Abstract: A preliminary survey of targets in the northern Kermadec arc, centred around the large (~10 km in diameter) Macauley caldera volcano, was completed during the ten day HMNZS Wellington Kermadec ‘15 cruise. This included five days of geophysical surveying and three deployments of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Sentry. The cruise was part of a multi-disciplinary expedition using the New Zealand Navy’s HMNZS Wellington — an Offshore Patrol Vessel — in-between offloading (and later recovering) equipment, stores and personnel for the Department of Conservation’s base on Raoul Island. This cruise was successful in acquiring 1,375-line km of regional magnetic and gravity data and three Sentry AUV dives (one aborted at the beginning of the dive) on Macauley cone. Data collected during the dives included high resolution multi-beam and magnetic data, and various water column parameters including dissolved oxygen, optical backscatter, conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) and a mini autonomous plume recorder. A suite of 37 rock samples was collected from 22 different sites on Raoul Island. Unfortunately, the cruise was cut short by tropical cyclone Pam, a category 5 cyclone, which meant operations were curtailed as the bad weather forced HMNZS Wellington’s early return to port to ensure the safety of all on-board and Sentry. The vessel rescued a French solo yachtsman from the oncoming cyclone. While the shortened cruise (from 19 to 10 days) meant fewer scientific objectives were realised than planned, a small, but high quality dataset was nevertheless obtained which contributes to research on hydrothermal activity, sand waves forms (at Macauley volcano) and mineral deposit prospectivity studies. Regional surface gravity and magnetic data provides information on the geology and structures on, and below, the seafloor. The suite of rock samples collected from Raoul Island provides samples of the same or similar lithologies to those that are being studied in a submarine environment, aiding in our understanding of the seafloor petrology. (auth)