Prepping for Research!

July 10, 2010 Saturday (evening)

Location: Eastern Atlantic Ocean, off the Azores

Lat: 37*55.0494' Lon: 27* 11.7293'

Traveling: 12.3 knots Sea Surface Temp: 21.33*C / 70.39*F

Salinity: 35.55 psu Depth: ~2000 m

Morning came early today! The delicious breakfast was followed by waving goodbye to Sao Miguel from the top deck of the R/V Knorr. We steamed northwestward around and out from the island at about 11 knots for two hours. With Sao Miguel still clearly in view we stopped so the coring crew could begin testing the “Dog Dish”. They were able to do this test so close to land because the ocean floor is more than three km below the surface there, with Sao Miguel still in view! Yup! You read right: more than 3km- 3000m - more than 1.6 miles deep.

No kidding! The apparatus was not sent all the way to the seafloor; it stopped at about 2800 m.

At 9 am we were given an overview talk about ship safety and logistics and midday this was followed up by a fire drill. Up the stairs with our life jackets and life saving suits we came to hear instructions and to try on the thick red suits with hoods that would greatly increase our chances of survival in the event that we need to abandon ship. Then we mustered on deck for an explanation of life boats and tracking technology.

Testing the dog dish took about three hours and while the coring crew worked on that, the science crew prepared for tomorrow's work. They labeled the liner for the long core - this is an enormously important step! Liner for the long core is thick, heavy PVC - essentially sewer pipe - and it sits inside the steel shell of the corer. The liner is composed of a series of PVC segments with threaded ends that are glued and screwed together. After the sediment has been gathered and the long corer brought back to the surface, the liner will be cut into segments as it is pulled out of the steel shell. Each segment is then quickly capped so it will maintain its structural integrity. Phew!

Later the cores are cut into halves, lengthwise. One half goes to the chief scientist and the other half goes to the the WHOI archives where they are available to other researchers.

Check out the video on the equipment page to see how the long core works!

We wrapped up the day with dinner on the deck!

As I take my leave from you and head to bed, we are a mere 8:36 hrs away from our first coring site, 112 nautical miles. On deck for 7 am!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely picture of you, Heather! This is a great blog- I am following it!