When the ship comes in

Written by Karin Sigloch on Monday, 21 October 2013.

Monday, 21 October 2013, Karin Sigloch

 We arrived in Mauritius on Saturday with a small preparation team. This year we will start our cruise from Port Louis and over a span of six weeks, we will recover the 57 ocean-bottom seismometers that we deployed 13 months ago. The deployment was done with the French research vessel “Marion Dufresne”, and we are about to pick them up using the German “Meteor”.

Yesterday, Sunday, we had time for an excursion to the island’s extinct volcanic landscapes. Mauritius is the predecessor of La Réunion, the patch of Indian Ocean crust that was previously overlying the long-lived volcanic hotspot in the earth’s mantle that we are investigating. Mauritius has since drifted away from the deep heat source and presents a striking contrast to the presently active volcanism of La Réunion: instead of rising 3000 m above the sea, Mauritius has been eroded down by the intense action of its tropical climate in just a few million years. Only the ragged remnants of former lava flows and magma chambers stick into the sky today – very picturesque, but not even 900 m high.

Also yesterday in the afternoon, my French co-PI Guilhem Barruol sent an SMS: from his house on the northern slope of La Réunion, he was watching the Meteor steam past, on its way from South Africa to Mauritius. It was really coming!

This morning we arrived in the harbor of Port Louis just as the ship was coming in. A beautiful sight, when you have spent several years raising funds, planning and doing preliminary research for this moment to arrive.

A couple more days of loading containers, provisions, setting up the lab…and we will be ready to go and harvest our data.


About the Author

Karin Sigloch

Karin Sigloch

The German part of RHUM-RUM is led by Karin Sigloch, Department of Earth Sciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany. 

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