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Marine Technology

Sampling Volcanoes

Underwater robots, like Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), are incredibly helpful for exploring extreme underwater conditions, such as at active submarine volcanoes. ROVs can withstand relatively high temperatures and can be outfitted with various tools which help explorers collect a wide variety of geological and chemical samples and biological specimens to better understand the volcano. Tools like the manipulator arm are great for picking up geological samples, which can be stored in a collection box on the front of the ROV until it resurfaces at the end of the dive. Larger volcanic rock samples are placed on an “elevator” which is a larger lift device used to bring samples to the surface that are too big or heavy for the ROV to carry. Volcanic rock samples provide useful information about the minerals and history of the volcano. Biological specimens are also collected to better understand what species can survive in these extreme conditions.

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