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“We found a type of lava never before seen erupting from an active volcano, and for the first time observed molten lava flowing across the deep-ocean seafloor,” said Resing. “In terms of understanding how the volcano is erupting, the high frame rate lets you stop the motion and look to see what is happening. You can see the processes better.”
The ROV transmitted live HD video of the eruption back to the RV Thomas Thompson through a fiber optic tether. Lange said the system’s Fujinon HD lens provides almost twice the focal length and many times the resolution of the SD cameras that are normally used on vehicles like Jason.
“This camera is a hybrid based around the concept that we need to acquire still and motion imagery from our HD cameras,” Lange explained. “It’s an architecture we’ve developed to support a variety of image sensors and its modularity allows us to adapt it efficiently for different scientific purposes.”
Installation of the prototype camera system, which had been used on two previous expeditions, was funded by the National Science Foundation. After its successful tests, Lange said the new camera could become a permanent upgrade on Jason and Alvin, a manned deep-sea submersible, later this year.
“I think it performed very well,” Lange added. “It did a fantastic job of capturing this unique geological event, and gave the scientists the ability to see details they could not see with standard definition systems.”