Our PhD student crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

The research cruise of the Atlantis research vessel belonging to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has come to an end. Alexey Zheleznov, a PhD student of Department of Geomorphology, was an only participant from Russia.

Alexey Zheleznov, a SPbU PhD student, studies the geomorphology of the Atlantic Ocean. He is an English speaker and has completed the POMOR Master’s programme. WHOI is the largest oceanographic research institution in the world. Alexey’s participation in the WHOI expedition was made possible thanks to the InterRidge Cruise Bursary programme. Head of the expedition Deborah Smith is a notable researcher of the Atlantic. On the whole three PhD students were admitted to take part in the expedition on a competitive basis.

There are no special practical tasks set before the exhibition. The US National Science Foundation allocates enough money to organise fundamental research of the ocean. First of all, it is studies of the seismicity and morphology of the Equatorial Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR).

There were the following tasks set before the expedition: obtaining data from hydrophones (autonomous systems deployed in the ocean waters for a two-year period to register underwater earthquake data) and bottom topography survey in the Central Atlantic using a multibeam bathymetric dataset, collected on the transit legs of this cruise in June/July 2012. The main goal was to collect data on the so-called triple junction point of tectonic plates, i.e. on the processes going on under the water at the junction of North and South Americas and Africa. This region is notable for its higher seismic intensity. Many underwater earthquakes take place along the axis of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and transform faults that cross it. Most people are unaware of these earthquakes.
In fact, most geological data in the Central Atlantic has been collected by Russian resezrch vessels. Many submarine landforms here are called after Russian scientists and hydrographers. Most sample data has been collected during the dredging operations held by Russian geologists from «Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition» (PMGE). Thus, we do have a reason to be proud. Without this data, no seismic intensity or relief research can provide a full and accurate geodynamic pattern of the ocean’s nature.
Atlantis crossed the rift valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge right in the sector that Alexey studies for his PhD thesis.  «It was incredible, both scientifically and emotionally», the young researcher of the Atlantic told.
Saint Petersburg State University: News — http://eng.spbu.ru/news/?read_news_id=1867
InterRidge: News — http://www.interridge.org/node/16851
NTV-Petersburg (in Russian) — http://www.ntv.ru/novosti/317338

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