Centre for Geobiology

IODP Seventh Report - Rocks in the Bag

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

All scientists onboard

(Steffen just to the left of the mast at the bow at the back of the group -...
(Steffen just to the left of the mast at the bow at the back of the group - with the shiny head!)

We have now successfully recovered the last rocks from site U1383; hole C. The total depth of the hole was 331.5 meters, of which almost 300 meters was hard rock.

We recovered some really nice samples for microbiology that I am looking forward to start crushing. I, hopefully, will be able to squeeze some DNA from them.  We recovered a lot of glassy and variolitic basalt, which is good as this kind of rock contains a lot of fractures. We hope to find a lot of microbes hiding in these fractures. In between these basalt layers we also found some nice samples of limestone that will be interesting to get a closer look at back in the lab.

The logging of the last of the core means that the 24-hour non-stop routine of core recovery is also over so I am back on dayshift. I kind of liked the nightshifts, because it is quieter and easier to focus on your work. I am, however, glad to see the sun again! For the last 10 days I have been watching the sunrise just before going to bed. I can still watch the sunrise, but now it marks the beginning of a new day and not the end of a long night. I will not have long to enjoy the sun, however, as we start drilling through sediment in a new hole already Monday morning and will continue until Friday morning, and for me, that means back on nightshift.

During the past week we celebrated Halloween, and most people got dressed up in costumes and danced the night away. I, on the other hand, as a serious student, had work to do, and besides I am not especially keen on dressing up and dancing around. I did, however, wear the wonderful sailor cap that Jennifer had made for me.

In our ongoing rowing machine competition I actually took over the lead – but the glory lasted only 31 hours, and now Wolfgang has a phenomenal time; I am afraid it will stand for the rest of the expedition.

We have a pack of Mahi-mahi fish around the boat every day, hunting for the flying fishes from sunset to sunrise. They are quite spectacular to watch and we have fresh fish in the mess every night. I watched the crewmembers fishing the other day catching loads of triggerfish. To my surprise they use nothing but a string, raw meat and a paper clip!  

This upcoming week is our last at North Pond before we steam back to the Azores. During that time we will hopefully be able to retrieve a lot of sediment cores.

There are busy days lying ahead. I had promised to write something about the CORKs but I think this will have to wait until next time. Here is a link to a really good paper about borehole observatory systems.

Have a question? Send it to Steffen!

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