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Scientists to Examine Undersea Quake Zone in HD

Scientists are planning to use an HD camera for live views of an area of the sea floor that has been twisted by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions featuring highly unusual underground artifacts, including orifices that vent boiling water.

A scientific team will broadcast images from the Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge live from the sea floor, located about 200 miles off the coast of Washington state and British Columbia, according to published reports. The transmissions scheduled for this week are believed to be the first to be broadcast live in HD from the sea floor anywhere in the world.

VISIONS '05 (Visually Integrated Science for Interactive Ocean Networked Systems) is an expedition studying how tectonic-plate interaction can support microbial life forms deep within the sea floor. Cameras and robots are studying the unusual micro-organisms that live in the aquatic zone.

Plans call for real-time, HD video from the sea floor to be transmitted from the remotely operated vehicle, Jason II, back to the Thompson through a 6-mile-long electro-optical tether. If weather problems do not interfere, an onboard engineering production crew from the ResearchChannel will produce HD images with scientists from the ship and in a Seattle studio narrating what they see, from 5-6 p.m. (EDT) as we go to press, Sept. 28-29.