High Definition Camera V18

HD Camera Installed at ASHES
First Images from HD Camera at Mushroom

The ROV ROPOS powers up the RSN-OOI camera for the first time at the hydrothermal chimney called Mushroom. This image is from ROPOS with the vehicle lights off, and only the RSN-OOI HD camera providing illumination of the chimney while collecting the first video imagery from the seafloor, which was then streamed live over the Internet. Photo credit: NSF-OOI/UW/CSSF.

A Hybrid Wetmate Connector on the HD Camera

An ODI hybrid wet-mate connector provides > 1 Gbs video transmission capabilities and power to the RSN-OOI-NSF high definition camera that was deployed during the VISIONS'13 Expedition. The wetmate connectors allow an ROV to connect and disconnect infrastructure underwater without having to recover the equipment. The camera shown here is at a water depth of ~ 5000 ft at the summit of Axial Seamount.

The orange extension cable (on right of camera) was powered up by the ROV ROPOS through an ~ 4 km extension cable that traverses eastward across the caldera at Axial Seamount. Live video video from the HD camera was streamed over the Internet for several hours during testing of the camera. In 2014, the extension cable will be connected to Primary Node 3B for 365 day access. The camera was installed at the base of the hydrothermal chimney called Mushroom in the ASHES hydrothermal field.

Photo credit: NSF-OOI/UW/CSSF.


The high-definition video camera on the Cabled Array was built by the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. It provides high resolution, time series views of black smoker deposits and issuing fluids, coupled with images macrofauna and microbial mats and filaments at the Mushroom hydrothermal vent in the ASHES hydrothermal field at Axial Seamount.

The live high definition video streams sent back to shore at the speed of light for viewers to watch every three hours. 

The time-series imagery from over 300 miles offshore and nearly 1 mile beneath the oceans surface, is providing new insights into growth and collapse of the sulfide chimneys, changes in macrofaunal and microbial mat distribution, and movement and interaction of the organisms that densely colonize Mushroom.

The camera is associated with a nearby osmotic fluid sampler for follow-on chemical analyses of diffusely flowing fluids that is coupled with a novel temperature (thermistor) array that provides 3D measurements of temperatures in diffusely flowing fluids a few meters away from Mushroom. Fluids in the vent have been measured at over 260°C and the surrounding seawater is ~2°C. In concert, these instruments allow characterization of how fluid chemistry and temperature impact biological communities of tube worms, palm worms, limpets, and microbes, and how these communities evolve over time in response to volcanic and seismic events.

This HD video camera was installed in 2013 and connected to the primary infrastructure in 2014.