Finally the long time without my ship mates was over …
From 15 June to 25 June many of the shipboard participants from IODP expedition 318 met again in College Station, Texas, to bring the first stage of our science mission to conclusion, and make a start to the second stage. The first stage of course was the seagoing part, which you all could follow through the blogs. As I mentioned in my blogs, part of the job when sailing as a scientist in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme is to write a lot of reports. Every time we finished drilling at a new site in the ocean, a full report had to be written up, describing the operational side of things, but also the sediments we found, what ages they had, and what their physical properties and geochemical composition was. As you may imagine, doing scientific writing after 9 weeks of 12 hours shifts every day can be quite tough, and hence it was very good that we revisited all our writings and gave it final touches. The big report containing all the information will be published next summer. Why do we wait this long? A lot of the information that is contained in the reports from our Expedition is unique findings that can lead straight into a scientific publication. In order to allow the scientist, who collected the material, to get first dips on publication, a so-called moratorium is in place. This means that for 1 year nobody else but the people who were part of Expedition 318 will see the reports or get any samples.
But don’t worry – we surely will flood upcoming meetings with results much earlier than next summer. To make sure that this will happen, we entered step two, which is the actual shore-based science work. During five days in College Station, we all worked in shifts again to sample all the cores. This time, however, we did take samples for all of our individual science projects. In my case, this is to look at the history of the East Antarctic ice sheet as reconstructed from ice-rafted debris ,and to understand the interplay of continental weathering, ocean circulation and CO2 drawdown during the onset of Antarctic glaciation some 34 million years ago. Two very exciting projects, which I am lucky to have two motivated PhD students for! But also this stage of the expedition will involve a lot of team work -no single group or researcher can do all the analyses required, to answer the big picture questions in Earth and Climate sciences alone. Hence already back on the ship we formed topical teams, which will join forces to tackle the big science questions out there. Happy data production everybody and more soon!
Below a picture from the ‘sampling party’ – looks almost like back on the ship, doesn’t it?