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Fire, Water, Life: Deep-Sea Volcanism with Dr Daniel J. Fornari

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The University of Queensland Art Museum

University Drive

Saint Lucia, QLD 4072

Australia

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Fire, Water, Life: Deep-Sea Volcanism and Hydrothermal Processes with Dr. Daniel J. Fornari

About this Event

UQ Art Museum presents a keynote lecture by Emeritus Research Scholar, Dr. Daniel J. Fornari in conjunction with Mel O'Callaghan's exhibition Centre of the Centre.

1:30 pm Keynote presentation

3:00 pm Panel discussion with Dr Daniel Fornari (WHOI), Dr Emma Gagen (UQ), Professor Gregory Webb (UQ), Dr Paul Evans (UQ), Dr Teresa Ubide Garralda (UQ), and chair Nick Dyriw (QUT).

The deep oceans and global seafloor are truly Earth’s last frontier. They remain largely unexplored, yet are critical to our survival on this planet. Covering nearly 70% of our planet and reaching depths of greater than 11,000 metres, the ocean realm contains the largest chain of active volcanoes, boiling hot springs, and fault zones. In undersea mountains a mile beneath the surface, bizarre landscapes host exotic life forms that rival the most imaginative science fiction. In this dark and largely unexplored environment the potential exists for profound scientific discoveries in this century that will likely shape the future of human society.

Despite the opaque blue mask of the oceans as depicted on many maps, the Earth’s solid crust extends continuously beneath the oceans with distinctive geological processes, spectacular landforms, and strange life, much of it still unknown. Whereas the continents above the sea are easily observable, light does not penetrate the ocean depths below ~400 metres, hence imaging and exploring the vast seafloor environment presents special challenges. Over the past few decades, using specially developed technologies including autonomous robots, remotely operated vehicles and newly designed, human-occupied submarines, the global seafloor is now coming into focus and our ability to map and visualise it can be done at centimetre-scale resolution.

The lecture will focus on the linkages between submarine volcanism occurring on the global mid-ocean ridge crest and hydrothermal phenomena associated with energy and chemical transfer from Earth’s mantle to the deep ocean. Examples of new vehicle and sensor technologies that have enabled more detailed and site-specific exploration of seafloor processes in many tectonic environments will be presented.

Dr Daniel J. Fornari is a leading researcher in mid-ocean ridges who has participated in over 150 research cruises, and has significantly contributed to over 100 scientific publications dedicated to volcanic and hydrothermal processes along mid-ocean ridges. Fornari has nearly 45 years of ocean exploration experience. He is an Emeritus Research Scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) – Geology & Geophysics Dept., Woods Hole, MA USA.

Image: A hydrothermal vent community of tubeworms and mussels colonizing volcanic seafloor on the East Pacific Rise at 2510 meters depth. Copyright Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) 2020

With thanks to:

  • WHOI National Deep Submergence Facility - Alvin Operations Group
  • MISO Imaging Facility - WHOI
  • The National Science Foundation - Ocean Sciences Division
  • RV Atlantis crew and science team on AT42-21 Cruise
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The University of Queensland Art Museum

University Drive

Saint Lucia, QLD 4072

Australia

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