Soon (when I learn how to edit graphics) this all too typical Earth will show where we have been in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and Iceland

Hot vents (350 C) exist along mid-ocean ridges. These are sites where cold seawater penetrates the oceanic crust and is heated by axial magma chambers. This particilar vent is near 9 degrees north on the East Pacific Rise and the image is courtesy of Dr. Rachel Haymon of UCSB. The vent shown was discovered shortly after a volcanic eruption.

Recently it was discovered that the eruption of seafloor basalts was accompanied by "blooms" of critters that usually live beneath the seafloor. The critters are the white stuff (lots, huh?) and the recently erupted basalts is the black stuff. Image from about 2500 m depth along the East Pacific Rise near 9 N, again courtesy of Rachel Haymon.

In our group, we go to sea to deply ocean bottom seismometers which we use to record seismic energy from controlled (airguns) and natural sources (earthquakes). The image shows an OBS being deployed on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near 29 N. Instruments such as this one are deployed for periods of days to months, in this case to record microearthquakes that accompany the tectonic and magmatic activity of a slow-spreading ridge.

This unique image, taken from the port hole of the DSV (Deep Submergence Vehicle) Alvin, shows a three-component ocean bottom seismometer sitting on pillow basalts. The site is the axial valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a depth of about 3000 m. The instrument was recovered shortly after this photo was taken by using Alvin to nudge it loose.

This tomographic image shows several features: (1) The bottom plane shows a cross-section at a depth of 2 km beneath the seafloor, or approximately through the center of an axial magma chamber. The colors depict anomalously low (reds) or high (blues) P wave seismic velocities. The velocities of seismic waves are affected by physical properties such as temperature, degree of partial melt, and porosity (among others). The hot magma at this depth is indicated by the region of low velocities (red). (2) The upper mesh shows a combination of seafloor bathymetry with the superposed colors indicating anomalous seismic velocities near the seafloor. The axial high (see mesh) 

A perspective view of the Hengill volcano in Iceland.  A first and memorable foray into collaborative science.

A second perspective view of Hengill.  Green and blue regions are anomalously high velocities that coincide with the roots of the Hengill and Grensdalur volcanoes.

Geophysicists in the Oman ophiolite discovering just how easy it is to read the rock record!

And off we go, another long transit.