The ASHES Vent Field Primary Node (PN03B) is located along the eastern side of the summit of Axial Seamount. It rests on the seafloor at a water depth of 1527 m and is connected to the land-based shore station in Pacific City, Oregon via fiber-optic cables. Located >350 km offshore, the Primary Node near the caldera of Axial Seamount, converts high power (10 kv) from the shore station to lower power (375 v) and distributes that power and communication (10 Gb) to five junction boxes within the caldera. The backbone cabled connecting the Primary Node to the shore station provides real-time two-way communication, such that data and communications are sent from the junction boxes to shore, but also communications are also sent by land such allowing adaptive sampling, camera operations (e.g. pan, tilt, lights), and adjustment to sensors within the instruments as needed (e.g. tilt meters).
This particular Primary Node, PN03B, provides power and bandwidth to all cabled infrastructure on the Seamount, including:
- International District Vent Field 1
- International District Vent Field 2
- Eastern Caldera
- Central Caldera
- ASHES Vent Field