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Downwind Expedition, 1957-1958

Downwind Expedition was the first of three Scripps IGY expeditions. It was a two-ship expedition on HORIZON and SPENCER F. BAIRD. It examined by large-volume sampling the isotope properties of deep water and its circulation in the Southeast Pacific and studied the areal distribution of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, near the sea surface, and in the surface waters. It studied the carbon dioxide exchange at the air-sea boundary. The two ships made geological-geophysical studies of the structure of the Southeast Pacific basins, the Peru-Chile Trench, and major intermediate-depth entities. Nasca Ridge was discovered, and the subduction model was established for the active deep trench off western South America. The expedition made Scripps’ first visit to Easter Island in January 1958. The results of the expedition proved to be important to plate tectonics.

Bob Fisher and Dredge haul. Spencer Baird off Pisco, Peru, Downwind Expedition, Jan. 1958
Bob Norris and Easter Island statues, Downwind Expedition, February 1958
Alan Jones, Baird Cook talking to Rapa Nui girl, Easter Island. Feb. 1958
Robert L. Fisher during the Downwind Expedition, he served as ship scheduler at Scripps Institution of Oceanography from 1964-1968 and SIO associate director, Ship Operations and Marine Technical Support, from 1974-1980. He planned and led many complex deep-sea expeditions at Scripps and in cooperation with other academic institutions and international agencies throughout the Pacific, Indian, and western Arctic Oceans. Circa 1958.

Explore the UC San Diego Digital Collections for more photos from the expedition