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Mysteries of the Deep Earth: Expedition to Australia’s Underwater Volcanoes

Mysteries of the Deep Earth: Expedition to Australia’s Underwater Volcanoes

Expedition on Australia’s research vessel, the R/V Investigator, to study two parallel chains of extinct underwater volcanoes in the Coral and Tasman Seas

Meet the Team!

Four scientists are representing the University of Edinburgh on the RV Investigator voyage to the Coral Sea. From left to right they are:

Name: Dr Ben Cohen
Role: Geology shift leader
Research interests: I’ve been studying Australia’s (extinct) volcanoes, both onshore and offshore, since 2002 (how time flies!). My main speciality is finding out when these volcanoes erupted. From this information we can determine how the Australia has moved north with plate tectonics over the last 65 million years.
I’m most excited about seeing: Volcanic rocks that we can study them in our laboratories on land! I’m also enjoying the tranquility of looking out over the open ocean – and being inspired by the diversity of our planet, and how much there is yet to discover.

Name: Jamie Menzies
Role: Educator on Board
Research interests: I have a background in Geology and Geophysics, and in my day job I work in STEM learning at the Scottish Maritime Museum and the University of Edinburgh. I’m really excited to see how we can translate some of the amazing research and findings from the voyage into useful curriculum-linked resources for Primary School scientists.  We’re linking via live video with about 15 Primary Schools in Scotland directly from the voyage to bring the cutting edge science into classrooms across the country.
I’m most excited about seeing: Rock sampling and seafloor mapping in action! Whales and dolphins are pretty cool, too, as is the chance to get to know the incredible group of 23 scientists on board.

Name: Amelia Smethurst
Role: PhD Student
Research interests: My research focuses on volcanism, and specifically why we see volcanoes so far away from plate boundaries. What causes the mantle to melt in these areas? Which is the melt source – lower mantle, upper mantle, or a mixture of both? How does this present itself in the geochemistry of the rocks which make up these volcanoes?
I’m most excited about seeing: Humpback whales!

Name: Akinori Suganuma
Role: Undergraduate student
Research interests: My major interest at sea is looking at the formation of the seamounts in the Coral Sea. I am very excited to see rocks sampled from these underwater extinct volcanoes! I am also interested in seeing how these rocks compare with the extinct volcanoes onshore Australia, which I was lucky enough to see before I got on the ship.
I’m most excited about seeing: Rocks, marine animals, and corals!

And back in Edinburgh:

Name: Dr Lara Kalnins
Role: UK Team Leader
Research interests: My research uses a combination of geology and geophysics to understand how the Earth’s solid tectonic plates and flowing mantle interact to create the many and varied patterns of volcanism we see at the surface, and what those patterns of volcanism can in turn tell us about how the plates and mantle convection change through time.
I’m most excited about seeing: All the new rocks, geophysical data, and teaching materials once the team get back to Edinburgh!




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