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Expedition Sea-Trials with RV SONNE: ROVARK

Chief Scientists: Prof. Dr. Bob Embley (PMEL), Prof. Dr. Colin Devey (IfM-Geomar, Kiel)

In summer 2007, the IfM-Geomar carried out a joined cruise with the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences of New Zealand (GNS) with the German research vessel SONNE. The cruise started on July 27 in Auckland / New Zealand, after intensive mobilization work for the newly acquired Remotely Operated Vehicle KIEL 6000 onboard RV SONNE. Further partners of the cruise were Schilling Robotics LLC, Davis (USA), the Pacific Marine and Environmental Laboratory (PMEL, a branch of NOAA) as well as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI, USA). We deployed three main tools to conduct scientific research: the ROV KIEL 6000, the Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE) and a CTD.

The cruise led to two submarine volcanos in the southern Kermadec Arc, Brothers and Rumble II West, as well as to the Kermadec deep-sea trench.

For more information about the science of the cruise check at:

Photos (unless otherwise noted): ROV-Team GEOMAR; for enquiries on utilisation of image material please contact Public Relations Dept GEOMAR or Dr. Friedrich Abegg.


The main objectives of this cruise were:

(1) To conduct sea trials for the new IfM-Geomar ROV KIEL 6000, including at least one 6,000 m dive in the Kermadec Trench and other test dives in areas of mutual interest (e.g. Brothers volcano) to video the seafloor and sample any venting with Ti-major bottles and gas-tight samplers, plus chimneys,

(2) to conduct a series of dives with the WHOI autonomous underwater vehicle ABE over Brothers and Rumble II West volcanoes to derive a complete (and detailed) map of the seafloor, together with the magnetic field, and the physical/chemical characters of the overlying hydrothermal plume, using various sensors,

(3) to conduct a series of vertical-cast and tow-yo water column surveys over Brothers volcano as part of a time-series study,

(4) to conduct a series of vertical-cast water column surveys in selected basins as a first-order reconnaissance for hydrothermal venting in the backarc; probably survey the Ngatoro Rift at the beginning of the expedition then other basins on the return to Auckland and/or opportunistically during the voyage (using Brothers volcano as a base),

(5) to collect bathymetric data of previously unmapped areas of the backarc during transits using the RV SONNE deepsea multi-beam echo sounder.


    Scientific Head 

    Dr. Friedrich Abegg
    GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
    Wischhofstr. 1-3
    D-24148 Kiel
    Technology & Logistics Centre
    Tel.: 0049 431 600-2134
    Fax: 0049 431 600-2680
    E-mail: fabegg(at)   

    Technical Head

    Martin Pieper (Dipl. Ing.)
    Technology & Logistics Centre
    Tel.: 0049 431 600-1688
    Fax: 0049 431 600-2680
    E-mail: mpieper(at) 

    Scientific Advisor

    Prof. Dr.Colin Devey
    FB4: Dynamics of the Ocean Floor
    Tel.: 0049 431 600-2257
    Fax: 0049 431 600-2924
    E-mail: cdevey(at)