Month: February 2010

26 February, 2010 – ‘Core is on the floor’ …

‘Core is on the floor’ is the what we hear through the intercom system on the ship, every time when a new piece of sediment floor comes up from the seafloor. What happens after the announcement is a highly streamlined sequence of steps. First the IODP technicians go out on the catwalk (see picture), where they put the core on racks, label it, and cut it in pieces.

From there it goes inside the ship and is left alone for some hours to equilibrate. Then it gets put through a series of so-called track systems, where the physical properties of the sediment are measured.

18 February, 2010 – Drilling on the Antarctic shelf

Below you can see a picture of our ship track on the Antarctic shelf over the past few days. The curly line is the result of quite difficult ice conditions with huge icebergs and some sea ice in the area where our targeted drill sites are. Earlier this week we had to sit out a storm, caused by a significant low pressure system going through the area. This was done away from the shelf, where there is only very little ice, making it a safer place to be in rough seas. On Tuesday we started the journey back to the continental shelf, to drill some more material that tells us about the transition from the Greenhouse world into the icehouse world.

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.