Centre for Deep Sea Research

A Moonshot in the Freezing Arctic Depths

Members of the Center have been onboard the Kronprins Håkon for an expedition to the Aurora vent field under the arctic ice.

A shot of one of the active vents at Aurora, two of which have been named after icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The main high temperature ‘black smoker’ of the Aurora hydrothermal site (not shown) has been named “Hans Tore Vent”, in honor of Professor Hans Tore Rapp, a pioneering deep-sea biologist at BIO who passed away in 2020 and was a key member of the HACON team.

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As partners in the Norwegian Research Council HACON project, scientists Ida Steen, Pedro Ribeiro and Eoghan Reeves from the University of Bergen (UiB) and Centre for Deep Sea Research have successfully conducted the first in-depth exploration and sampling of Earth's last truly remote and inaccessible deep sea environment – the Gakkel Ridge on the ice-covered Arctic Ocean seafloor. The HACON 2021 expedition, led by CAGE (UiT) and NIVA, brought together a diverse multi-national team aboard the icebreaker Kronprins Haakon in October 2021. Working with this interdisciplinary effort, the UiB team successfully sampled unique hydrothermal fluids, chimneys and fauna nearly 4 km deep at the 'Aurora' seafloor volcano, using the new, aptly named REV Ocean submersible ROV Aurora, supported by auxiliary equipment and staff from the Norwegian Marine Robotics Facility (NorMAR). For further details, see the press release here.