Expedition Overview

          R/V Sally Ride – photo courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Aboard the new Scripps Institution of Oceanography research vessel Sally Ride,  we will conduct a month-long investigation of the Cocos-Nazca spreading center in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. The Cocos-Nazca spreading center is a mid-ocean ridge that forms the  boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates.  It is propagating westward, splitting crust generated at the East Pacific Rise, and forming an unusually deep region of the ocean floor called the Hess Deep. The Cocos-Nazca rift represents successive stages in the development of an oceanic spreading center, extending from a state of initial rifting at its western tip to full magmatic seafloor spreading moving eastward.  It therefore presents an exciting opportunity to explore how a new mid-ocean ridge forms and evolves with time.

During our research cruise we will collect magnetic, gravity and bathymetric data and lava samples for chemical analysis in order to better understand the formation and evolution of oceanic rifts.

We set sail from Manzanillo Mexico on 20 April 2018, arrive at our study area on about April 22, and return to port in San Diego on May 26.

Please follow us through our periodic ‘Dispatches from Sea’ using the link above.

Location of the Cocos-Nazxa spreading center (solid red line) in the equatorial Pacific.

This expedition is made possible through generous support of the following: