Blog posts

14 February, 2010 – Life on the Joides Resolution

I have been writing a lot about the excitement of being at sea. This post will be dedicated to giving you some impression on how life aboard the ship (the Joides Resolution) feels like.

Below you can see a picture of the cabin I am sharing with one of my female colleagues. We are lucky in that we scored one of the biggest cabins with a private bathroom. For most other scientists the cabins are significantly smaller and the bathroom is shared with another cabin. I am sleeping in the lower bunk and find it quite comfortable. The only downside of our cabin is that we do not have a window!

5 February, 2010 – Completion of the first drill site and a view on Antarctica

This week we finished our first drill site, which was Site WLRIS07 on the map. The primary science objective for this site was to recover a distal record of the first arrival of glaciers to the eastern Wilkes Land margin. This is thought to represent the Earth’s transition from a ‘Greenhouse world’ to an ‘Icehouse world’ some 33 million years ago. We drilled the seafloor in 4000m water depth and recovered sediments from down to about 1000m. The material is truly spectacular: we recovered sediments from about ten different lithostratigraphic units ranging from very biogenic material over glacial deposits to very clay-rich material.

28 January, 2010 – Lonely Penguin and lots of sediment

The wildlife highlight of the last days was the sighting of my first penguin (see picture).

I had seen penguins before, sitting on icebergs in the distance, but with cheap cameras (like mine) these penguins only show up as black dots on a white berg. This penguin however was different. He was swimming very close by the ship, and thanks to an announcement of the captain, everybody who was awake got a chance to run outside and see it. The little guy was swimming up and down the side the ship, giving us a proper show – very cute!

Scientifically we are making great progress.

23 January, 2010 – On Site: Tripping pipe and recovering core from the bottom of the ocean

The first hole we tried to drill off Antarctica did not like us too much and we had to abandon it. After collecting the pipes going down from the ship to about 3700m water depths, we moved to another Site not too far away, but in a different depositional environment. We tripped the pipes again (to about 3900m; see video for one piece of pipe going down), and got our first core on deck at 2 am tonight. It seems that conditions at this new location are much more favorable for successful drilling, and we are making fast progress down the hole!

19 January, 2010 – Icebergs

When I got up yesterday morning the labs were emptied out – everybody seemed to be outside. Soon I learned that we were passing by some quite spectacular icebergs. In the photo you can see just one of those bergs. According to our ice specialist Diego Mello we saw bergs of every possible shape, and the excitement hold up for most of the day. If you check out other blogs on the expedition ( you will see more bergs. The sea has been very calm over the last few days, but the fog prevented more spectacular pictures. Unfortunately the massive presence of icebergs around our first targeted drill site (‘bergy water’ is the term Diego uses) forced the captain to make the decision that drilling on the shelf was not feasible at this point.

17 January, 2010 – Week 1 video

One of the participants in our endeavor to explore the climate history of Antarctica is the videographer Dan Brinkhuis (Zcene Moving Media Company). He has probably been one of the most busy people during our first week of transit, as he is constantly running around with his camera trying to capture all the different activities on the ship.

Today his first weekly report from the JOIDES Resolution came out featuring a portray of IODP expedition project manager Adam Klaus. Dan will produce reports like this for every week of our expedition, featuring different people on the ship and their roles in this expedition.