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Centre for Geobiology

IODP Fifth Report - Ups and downs at sea!

Our scientist-at-sea, PhD student Steffen Jorgensen, aboard the JOIDES Resolution sends his fifth report.

Basalt core up in the core splitting room

Photo:
Steffen Jorgensen

Not only are the waves making life a bit of a rocky experience out at sea, but also in everyday life and in the science are things going up and down!

When I left you last I think we had just lost the CORK in hole 395A and were running away from the approaching tropical storm.

After the storm moved on we returned to north pond and have now successfully drilled 210 meters into the seafloor of which the last meters were hard basalt rock. In addition we successfully installed a new CORK into the newly drilled hole. So right now things are going up scientifically!

The hard rock drilling gave us a bit of a surprise as the last core on one of my shifts (I have the night shift: 18:00 – 06:00) had a thick sediment layer sandwiched in between some of the basalt. The origin of the sediments is most likely a landslide coming from one of the nearby seamounts. The lower portions of these sediments consisted of a nannolithe ooze. As these organisms (discoaster) are now extinct, and as they only lived in a period from the middle to late Minocene, we can date the sediments to be around 8-12 million years old!  I can hardly wait to get the stuff back in the lab in Bergen and to start processing it for DNA!

We are currently retrieving all the pipes and drilling tools from the sea so that we can continue to our next site here at north pond.

Working the night shift has seriously perturbed my 24-hour rhythm. Now I just sleep whenever I have time and I am feeling tired most of the time! However, here I am sitting on the top of the ship. The temperature is 29 C with a mild breeze. I must admit I am wondering why CGB does most of its research cruises in the cold Greenland Sea above the Arctic Circle!!!

Since we have been at the same location for roughly a week the fishes are starting to get used to us and they are patrolling around the ship non- stop. Yesterday we even had a visit from a Minke whale that wanted to check us out. We have also been visited by a Mahi mahi. It was a big one that hung around the boat every day, but one morning it was gone, and as it is a good eating fish I suspect the Philippine kitchen crew caught it in the midst of night (I can confirm that the fishcakes the next day were tasty!). The only things I have not seen yet, to my great disappointment, is a whale shark and sharks (I was hoping to be able to tell my kids about them back home!).

Well it is almost lunch time-  so over and out for this time. 

Steffen

PS. The cake display is refilled every day, next to it is the ice cream and the soft drink machines. Good thing that the gym is close by!

 

Have a question? Send it to Steffen!

About the cruise.

 

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