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191

the Alvin

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191

the Alvin

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The deep sea is not an easy place to explore. To observe the ocean below 2,000 meters (or 6,562 feet), scientists must travel in deep-sea submersibles specially designed to endure the extreme pressure. Scientists from the United States use a submersible called the Alvin. Its successful missions have ranged from the first observation of hot-water vents to finding the Titanic.

The Alvin is named after:

physicist Allyn Vine

Alvin the chipmunk

both A and B

Are you right?

Correct!

Allyn Vine was one of the very first scientists to think of the possibility of looking at the deep sea in an underwater vehicle. The Alvin is named after both Dr. Vine and the famous cartoon character from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Scientists on board the Alvin observe out of three small portholes (windows) made of very thick glass. The glass is very thick to:

withstand intense pressure

make it easier to see

keep out UV rays

Are you right?

Correct!

The Alvin's three portholes are made of very thick glass to withstand the crushing pressure of the deep sea.

The Alvin can travel deeper than any other deep-sea submersible.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

The Alvin can plunge to 4,000 meters, but it is not the deepest diver. France's Nautile reaches 6,000 meters and Japan's Shinkai 6500 dives to 6,500 meters (21,325 feet).

Description: U.S.-owned deep-sea submersible
Purpose: biological, chemical, and geological research in the oceans
Passenger limit: three (one pilot and two scientists and/or journalists)
Size: 23 feet 4 inches long, 11 feet 10 inches high
Weight: 37,400 pounds
Cool fact: first deep-sea submersible to carry passengers

Image credits: courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.