From March 11 to April 5,1994, the German research vessel Sonne mapped the largely uncharted offshore areas of the Tabarto-Feni island chain in the New Ireland Basin of Papua, New Guinea. The Epithermal Deposits Southwestern Pacific Ocean (EDISON) cruise was organized as part of a multidisciplinary program to study the regional tectonic setting of the Tabar-to-Feni chain, to document recent submarine volcanism, and to investigate seafloor hydrothermal activity on the submerged flanks of the volcanos.

The New Ireland Basin occupies a forearcposition with respect to the formerly active Manus-Kilinailau arc-trench system and hosts a series of Pliocene to recent alkaline volcanos that are built on rifted Miocene sedimentary basement. Several of the volcanos have large, high-level porphyry stocks, and several have active geothermal systems, including gold-depositing hot springs and the giant Ladolam gold deposit on the island of Lihir.