Alvin and Atlantis

Human Occupied Vehicle

The three-person submersible Alvin was used during the 2000 (led by Scripps Oceanographic Insititution) and 2003 (led by the University of Washington) expeditions to Lost CIty.

WHOI operates the U.S. Navy-owned Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin for the national oceanographic community. Built in 1964 as one of the world’s first deep-ocean submersibles, Alvin has made more than 4,400 dives. It can reach nearly 63 percent of the global ocean floor. Alvin carries two scientists and a pilot to depths of 4,500 meters (about three miles) with dives usually beginning at 0800 and ending at ~ 1600. To get to the ~800 m water depth of Lost City only takes about 25 to 30 minutes. During the Lost CIty program in 2003 Alvin carried a full load of titanium water samplers to sample the vent fluids for chemistry, dissolved gases and microbiology. A front basket with compartments allowed numerous rock samples to be recovered on all dives and a "biobox" in the front of the basket allowed macrofaunal and friable vent chimney samples to be recovered shipboard. In total, the basket can hold ~ 200 lbs of gear and samples.

Alvin is named for Allyn Vine, a WHOI engineer and geophysicist who helped pioneer deep submergence research and technology. Its work life expectancy is almost up and a new 4500 m vehicle is currently being built.