The Deployment of HUGO

On the Ship

On October 12, the HUGO junction box was deployed on Loihi summit and 50 miles of fiber optic cable were laid to link the experiment to the monitoring station on shore. The images below show the preparations for the HUGO installation as well as the actual deployment. Clink on any of the small images to see a large version of that image.

The HUGO junction box, prior to launch. Because the junction box was lowered overboard, its position on the summit of Loihi may eventually need to be adjusted slightly. To do this, researchers will visit the site in January via the Pisces V submersible and will anchor it firmly in place at that time. The Pisces, however, is capable of lifting only 100 lbs while the HUGO junction box weighs over 1000 lbs. To reduce the effective weight of the box, a large float is attached to the top. Once the box has been positioned, the float will be released.
Before launch, the float was signed by the members of the HUGO team.

Pan dancing! The image shows the fiber optic cable being loaded into its "pan", or container on the ship R/V Independence. Fiber optic cable must be handled very carefully to avoid damaging the delicate fibers inside. In addition, once it is at sea the cable is laid very quickly, so it must be able to move rapidly out of the pan. The process of loading the cable into the container is called "pan dancing" and involves hours and hours of careful (and tedious) handling of cable. Here, members of the HUGO group, as well as other volunteers from SOEST, show their pan dancing skills.

An offering to Pele. Gin is allegedly the favorite beverage of Pele, the volcano goddess. A fifth of gin and a lei of ti leaf were laid on the junction box before deployment for good luck and for Pele's acceptance.
HUGO's initial instrument package contains a seismometer (shown here), a pressure sensor and a hydrophone. All three instruments were active during the deployment of HUGO, although the seismometer shorted out before data could be collected. During the cable laying, booming and popping noises were detected by the hydrophone and are thought to be an indication that Loihi is currently erupting.

The moment of truth...lowering the junction box overboard, on the evening of October 11. The box was connected to one end of the 50 mile fiber optic cable. Once the junction box was lowered to the summit of Loihi, the ship sailed in toward shore, laying cable as it went.
Approaching shore. On the morning of October 12, the R/V Independence sailed into Honu'apo to hand the far end of the cable over to the team on shore. Compare this image to a similar photo taken in 1908, nearly 90 years earlier...

Handing over the cable. The final job of those on the ship was to connect the main cable to a rope brought to the ship from shore. In this photo the ship's crew releases the last section of cable. Next, the cable was hauled on shore by the crew at the shore station.

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This page created and maintained by Jackie Caplan-Auerbach