Chief Scientist: David Clague (MBARI)
Principal Investigators: David Clague (MBARI) and Tessa Hill (Bodega Marine Lab, UC Davis)
Ship: R/V Western Flyer
Vehicle: ROV Tiburon


  1. Collect rock samples and map along the Patton Escarpment, a relict subduction zone accretionary prism.
  2. Collect bamboo corals at a range of depths and latitudes for their record of environmental change.
  3. Establish baseline surveys of fauna that inhabit the different seamounts.

This cruise combines two research programs. One program is to geologically sample and map along the Patton Escarpment off Southern California (PI: Clague). Among the accreted sediments of the subduction zone are volcanic rocks that record the passage of the Rivera Triple Junction and the transfer of the California Borderland from the North American tectonic plate to the Pacific Plate. The second program is funded by NOAA/NURP with the primary objective to sample deep sea bamboo corals (PI: Hill). Bamboo corals, which live for hundreds of years, provide an archive of surface and deep water environmental change, which is of particular interest in studying processes such as El Nino and anthropogenic climate change. An ancillary program will be establishing baseline surveys of fauna that inhabit the different seamounts, by collecting video transect data on each of 6 seamounts and leaving markers behind so these transects can be reoccupied in the future to assess ecosystem changes through time. We will also collect biologic specimens from a variety of taxa, rock specimens for geochemical and Ar-Ar age study, and sediment pushcores. After the ROV dives, if time permits, we will collect longer gravity cores. More background info >>

Further Reading

  • Seamounts - geology of the continental margin seamounts
    • Davis, A.S., D.A. Clague, J.B. Paduan (2007) Diverse origins of xenoliths from seamounts at the continental margin, offshore central California, Journal of Petrology; doi: 10.1093/petrology/egm003. [Abstract] [Article]
    • A.S. Davis, D.A. Clague, W.A. Bohrson, G.B. Dalrymple, and H.G. Greene (2002) Seamounts at the continental margin of California: a different kind of oceanic intra-plate volcanism, Geological Society of America Bulletin: Vol. 114, No. 3, pp. 316–333. [Abstract]
  • Seamount biology - coral distribution and resource protection
  • Southern California Borderland - geology of the Patton Escarpment
    • Marsaglia, K.M., A.S. Davis, K. Rimkus, D.A. Clague (2006) Evidence for interaction of a spreading ridge with the outer California borderland, Marine Geology, 229: 259-272. [Abstract] [Article]
  • MBARI news story about the Southern California seamounts





Pioneer Seamount
Larger version

Bamboo corals on Pioneer Seamount (ROV Tiburon dive 627)
Image © MBARI 2003

Previous Logbooks:

Davidson 2002