"Recovered Nereus this morning in time to charge batteries and get in one more "shallow dive" to a hydrothermal vent site called "TOTO"- a large volcanic caldera- 3000m deep"Toto is one of the 21 active hydrothermal submarine volcanoes in the Volcanic Unit of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. About three hours ago they posted this tweet:
We will be on site about 1300 local time. It is a glorious day with bright skies and a gentle swell. Looking forward to filming great images of the vent site.This is a good stuff. This cruise visited both Challenger Deep and a portion of the monument.
There was another round of press last night for Woods Hole's scientific and technological feat. Rather than link to all the articles (they all say pretty much the same thing), I will link to the Google News search results for "Mariana Trench."
I stumbled upon the US Fish & Wildlife Service fact sheet for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument this afternoon. Download it HERE.
The fact sheet has the best description of the monument I have read to date:
The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument consists of approximately 95,216 square miles of submerged lands and waters of the Mariana Archipelago. It includes three units: the Islands Unit, the waters and submerged lands of the three northernmost Mariana Islands; the Volcanic Unit, the submerged lands within 1 nautical mile of 21 designated volcanic sites; and the Trench Unit, the submerged lands extending from the northern limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to the southern limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States in the Territory of Guam. No waters are included in the Volcanic and Trench Units, and CNMI maintains all authority for managing the three islands within the Islands Unit (Farallon de Pajaros or Uracas, Maug, and Asuncion) above the mean low water line.It also encapsulates the next steps very neatly:
Only seven research expeditions have been made to this volcanic region, all since 2003. Another is planned in 2009. This vast and unique area is perhaps the most spectacular part of the Ring of Fire that encircles most of the Pacific Ocean. It has many secrets to yield and many potentially valuable lessons that can benefit the rest of the world.A little more digging and I found the webpage for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. So far the website only has a link to a map, the Presidential Proclamation which created the monument, and the Secretary's Order which game jurisdiction to USFWS.
During the coming years, the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be working with the CNMI government, Department of Defense, Department of State, U.S. Coast Guard, and others to develop a monument management plan.
The plan will provide for public education programs, traditional access by indigenous persons, scientific exploration and research, consideration of recreational fishing if it will not detract from the monument, and programs for monitoring and enforcement. A draft plan will be made available for public review and comment.