Mapping the Japan Trench

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
1
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Trip End Jan 20, 2009


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Friday, January 2, 2009

Hours durned into days, days turned into weeks. For the longest time we mapped flat nothingness. I think for two weeks we maybe saw 4 targets and non of them were of interest.
Two interesting features we mapped after the IDL were the Emperess seamounts and the Japan Trench. The sea Mountains are a chain that are left over from the hot spot that makes up the Hawaiian islands, as the plate moves, these islands erode and go benieth the surface. this mountain chain runs all the way from Hawaii north to the Aelutian Islands in Alaska, where it goes underneath the northern plate. These mountians are absolutely massive. you can see that  from the floor these mountains come up about 2200 meters off the bottom. serious stuff if you're trying to lay a cable between the pass.
The second item of interest is the Japan Trench. Along with the Marianas Trench in the middle of the ocean it is one one of the two deepest trenches in the world. we only mapped a small portion of it and the deepest depth we mapped was 9060m but that's nothing to shake a stick at.
Life on the boat was beginning to be a  little monotonous and after new years everyone began counting the days. That's usually a pretty dangerous thing to do at the end of a job, but the Mt. Mitchell is such a big boat that we could tell that there were no storms in the area that were going to prevent us so there was a good chance we would be wrapping up in less than a week. The Mt. Mitchell definitely lived up to it's websites touts of feeling more like a floating hotel than a work boat. I would say that it was defiantly the best boat I've ever been on for a length of time.
I started getting excited two days from land. You could see people surfing Japanese tourism websites and talking about potential plans. We considered everything from snowboarding Fuji to drinking beers at the Sapporo factory in on the northern island. The most likely answer was to stay in Yokohama where we port for a night and then move up to Shinagawa, a southern area a Tokyo, until eveyone flys home.
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