Autonomous sled with sensors and fluid sampling system.
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program borehole CORK (Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kit) observatories provide long-term access to hydrothermal fluids circulating within the basaltic crust (basement), providing invaluable opportunities to study the deep biosphere. We describe the design and application parameters of the GeoMICROBE instrumented sled, an autonomous sensor and fluid sampling system. The GeoMICROBE system couples with CORK fluid delivery lines to draw large volumes of fluids from crustal aquifers to the seafloor. These fluids pass a series of in-line sensors and an in situ filtration and collection system. GeoMICROBE’s major components include a primary valve manifold system, a positive displacement primary pump, sensors (e.g., fluid flow rate, temperature, dissolved O2, electrochemistry-voltammetry analyzer), a 48-port in situ filtration and fluid collection system, computerized controller, seven 24 V-40 A batteries and wet-mateable (ODI) communications with submersibles. This constantly evolving system has been successfully connected to IODP Hole 1301A on the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge.
Reference: Cowen, J.P., Copson, D., Jolly, J., Hsieh, C.-C., Matsumoto, R., Glazer, B.T. et al. (2012) Advanced instrument system for real-time and time-series microbial geochemical sampling of the deep (basaltic) crustal biosphere., Deep-Sea Research I, 61: 43-56 doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2011.11.004