They have treacherous cliffs, unreliable weather and possibly volcanic eruptions to contend with - and time is not on their side.
From April 9 to April 28, check in for daily dispatches made by the MARGINS science team from the volcanoes of the Mariana Islands.
- Day 1 | April 9, 2004
The Caroline Islands
En route to the Mariana Islands, Alison, Lillie and I (Dave) took the slow route via Hawaii, the Marshall and Caroline islands.
- Day 4 | April 12, 2004
The Reconnaissance Fly-over
In preparation for our sampling expedition, we did a 6-hour fly-over by fixed wing aircraft along the 370-mile long volcanic chain.
- Day 6 | April 14, 2004
The Ship Sets Sail
Finally, after months of preparation, the Wecoma set sail Wednesday for its mission in the northern Mariana islands.
- Day 7 | April 15, 2004
Life on the R/V WECOMA
Life on the R/V Wecoma
Erik, Maarten, Jenn, and I (Lillie) are well underway on our 10-day ship voyage on the waters around the Mariana Islands.
- Day 8 | April 16, 2004
Recovering the Ocean Bottom Seismometers
A busy day recovering the ocean bottom seismometers put down so long ago by our Japanese colleagues Shio and Hiroko.
- Day 9 | April 17, 2004
Since its first historical eruption in May 2003, Anatahan has remained active. In the past few weeks,
the seismic station on the island recorded as many as 3000 earthquakes per day.
- Day 10 | April 18, 2004
Yesterday, we (Lillie, Maarten, Erik, and I) landed on Pagan Island, where we were greeted by a surprising number of locals.
Since the island was evacuated after the 1981 eruption, a few old residents have returned in hopes of permanently resettling the island.
- Day 11 | April 19, 2004
After boarding the R/V Wecoma yesterday evening, we cruised overnight for 50 miles from Pagan to Agrigan. We landed at
Agrigan with mail and supplies for the inhabitants, who helped bring our equipment and jet fuel ashore.
- Day 12 | April 20, 2004
Pagan and Alamagan
Weighed down with supplies and equipment for a 4-day excursion northwards, we (Alison, Toby and Dave) took off from Saipan with Mike at 6am on Sunday morning.
- Day 13 | April 21, 2004
After spending the night on Agrigan, we (Dave, Alison and Toby) took off by helicopter for the summit crater. We noticed that the slopes of the
volcano consisted of deep gullies and ridges which, together with the dense vegetation, would make a hike virtually impossible.
- Day 14 | April 22, 2004
After spending the morning in the 'Lost World' of Agrigan sampling fumaroles, we (Alison, Dave, and Toby) were dropped off on Asuncion,
the next island up in the Mariana chain. As Mike took off to join the other group, we were left feeling somewhat marooned on this deserted island.
- Day 15 | April 23, 2004
Today the R/V Wecoma anchored inside the caldera of Maug. Erik and Joe landed on the east island and found an ideal site where we could
bring fuel ashore and land the helicopter.
- Day 16 | April 24, 2004
Pagan and Anatahan
Today we awoke, well rested, on Pagan Island. Erik, Maarten, Mike (our pilot) and I were excited to find 4 cups of coffee, waiting for us by
our helicopter. It seems our island friends left us a wonderful morning gift.
- Day 18 | April 26, 2004
Guguan is a very special island that was set aside as a natural preserve by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in the early '80s.
- Day 19 | April 27, 2004
The changes in seismicity at Anatahan over the past few days have been dramatic. Two days ago (Thursday) we (Maarten, Lillie and Erik) observed
extensive degassing from a single vent to the side of the dome in the East Crater.
- Day 20 | April 28, 2004
We are all back in Saipan now, and have been making an inventory of the samples we've collected over the past 2 weeks of intensive fieldwork.
We are happy that we've managed to sample geothermal fluids at the islands of Alamagan, Pagan, Agrigan and Uracas and to obtain lavas and tephra
at these islands and the other 5 in the chain.