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IODP Fourth Report - Losing a CORK and running away!

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

Sunset over the Atlantic

Photo:
Steffen Jorgensen

Here is the latest update from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. We have had some serous misfortune lately I am afraid, but there are naturally also highlights even in the middle of the night!  

Let me start with where I left you the last time – I think that was after we succeeded in retrieving the old CORK installation (the one with pressure and temperature loggers).

The plan was then to employ a new CORK installation into the old hole, with some fancy instruments. Everything went according to plan until the very last part of the operation – releasing the CORK from the running tool (the pipes that run all the way from the ship and to the ocean floor). Somehow the CORK head broke off and did not release properly from the running tool. Sadly this means that everything is now down in hole 395, but we are not able to retrieve it or get any data out from it.

This is a major setback from all perspective. Deep sea research is a risky, cutting-edge area - we are doing things that are on the edge of what is possible and this means the unexpected will happen.

We were then struck by another type of misfortune, common in deep sea research – weather, this time in the form of Phillipe, a tropical storm, that has been building up to the south of us. It was aiming right at North Pond (our location). Fortunately we knew about the storm well in advance and the Captain decided to follow the wise words: “If you cannot join them (and this one you do not want to join), then run (or something like that) - move out of the way!” That means we have been moving away from our site for the last 24 hours but are from this morning heading back to North Pond.

While we were travelling away we were able to have some fantastic star gazing nights (as we turn off most lights while sailing) and I was able to see some amazing shooting stars. The flying fishes have also returned, leaping above the waves as they try to escape the bow of the ship.

Recently I have had two Skype sessions with lower grade school students from Australia and the US. They were able to ask questions live to a scientist (me!).

That’s it for this time!

Steffen

PS the first picture show where we are, the second shows the moon pool - a hole through the centre of the ship for the drilling activities. Learn more about a moon pool.

Have a question? Send it to Steffen!

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