Teachers Diane Nielsen of Mercer Island High School, Tom Lee of Battleground’s Columbia Adventist Academy, Evan Justin of Vashon Island Middle School and Melissa Cohen of Seattle’s Meany Middle School are among the teachers sailing Aug. 3 to 21 aboard the University of Washington’s vessel the Thomas G. Thompson seeking information about the rugged, volcanically active areas on the seafloor 200 miles off the Washington coast.
The teachers are part of the REVEL (Research and Education: Volcanoes, Exploration and Life) program originated at the University of Washington to give seventh- to 12th-grade science teachers chances to participate in oceanographic research and cutting-edge science. Teachers Joy Hill and Elaine Paulishak are on the expedition from California and Pennsylvania.
In addition to the teachers, this expedition will include high school students Ryan Delaney of Roosevelt High School and Hilary Macala of Bainbridge Island High School.
It’s possible to follow the work of the teachers, students and scientists through the daily logbook at http://www.ocean.washington.edu/outreach/revel. Questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The teachers and students are on an expedition led by Russ McDuff, UW professor of oceanography, that will use an autonomous vehicle controlled by scientists at the surface and other instruments to study the flow of hot fluids escaping from the seafloor into the ocean on a portion of the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the coast of Washington and Canada.
The Juan de Fuca Ridge is a volcanic ridge a mile below the ocean surface and the site of numerous hydrothermal vents. The vents ooze and spew water that has percolated deep in the Earth’s crust, becoming superheated to as much as 600 degrees F and picking up minerals. These minerals form craggy peaks, spires and huge mounds on the seafloor and become home to unusual microorganisms, colorful tube worms and other life.
McDuff and his colleagues want to know how much heat is carried by hydrothermal vent fluids into the ocean because it’s such an important source of energy for seafloor ecosystems. The flows can also indicate the geological and hydrothermal processes at work deep in the crust.
REVEL teachers and the high school students will have the opportunity to work closely with the scientists from the UW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Japan on this expedition, according to Veronique Robigou and John Delaney, UW oceanographers and directors of the REVEL program. Supporting the seagoing experience, REVEL helps teachers transfer what they’ve learned to the classroom, share what they’ve learned with other teachers at their schools and collaborate with a national network of researchers and educational professionals, Robigou says.
Thirty teachers from Washington state have participated since the REVEL program was launched in 1996. Seventeen teachers from other states also have taken part. Funding the program is the National Science Foundation-Ocean Sciences and the University of Washington.
For more information: Veronique Robigou, (206) 543-9282, email@example.com
For more information when they return from sea:
Diane Nielsen, teacher leader
(this is her second REVEL expedition)
Mercer Island High School, 10th grade
Vashon Island Middle School, 8th grade
Columbia Adventist Academy
Battleground, Wash., 9-11th grade
Meany Middle School
Seattle, Wash., 8th grade
Loya Elementary School
Salinas, Calif., 5-6th grade
Mid Valley School
Throop, Penn. , 8th grade
Ryan Delaney, student
Roosevelt High School
Hilary Macala, student
Bainbridge High School