Featured Stories | December 26, 2014

Remembering the RV Knorr

RV Knorr

As 2014 comes to an end, Oceans at MIT and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program are remembering the RV Knorr, an accomplished research vessel that the US Navy recently retired from service in the United States. Since 1970, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has operated the ship for the entire ocean research community, sending scientists and students on more than 1.35 million miles of travel across the globe. The many international research collaborations conducted on board the Knorr resulted in major oceanographic and geological discoveries, such as the first investigation of the mid-ocean ridge in 1973, the 1985 discovery of the sunken Titanic, and the exploration of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which revealed the unexpected presence of life in the harsh deep sea environment of hydrothermal vents.

Remembering the Knorr is more than learning about the enormous ship we’ve all seen parked at the docks on the WHOI campus; rather, Knorr’s history helps us understand the importance of often treacherous ocean exploration and methodical data collection. Fortunately, the long tradition of ocean research cruises will continue at WHOI with RV Neil Armstrong in 2015. So, take a look these suggestions for reading by Oceans at MIT:

arrowOceans at MIT’s Geotraces: Building a Periodic Table for the Ocean features the sea-going quest of MIT Prof Ed Boyle and others to compile profiles of elements essential to ocean health, such as iron, cobalt, and molybdenum, as well as anthropogenic contaminants, such as lead or mercury, in order to build an unprecedented resource for understanding how concentrations of elements fluctuate in response to climate change and human industrial pollution.

arrowWHOI’s Oceanus Magazine’s fantastic feature article Farewell to the Knorr includes a short film and shares details about the Knorr‘s activities through the ages.

arrowAdventure in the Labrador Sea, a journal entry about being a scientist aboard a Knorr cruise, starts out as WHOI’s Robert Pickart wonders: “Should we reconsider this attempt to study wintertime oceanography in one of the harshest areas of the world ocean?”

arrowLosing a Mate, Finding Themselves, about the experience of keeping a gravely ill Knorr shipmate alive.

arrowLearn about the RV Neil Armstrong, which will replace the Knorr in 2015

arrowRead The History of WHOI Ships, a bevy of archival photos and historical naval facts.