Monday, Monday...

July 12, 2010

Coordinates Lat / Lon: 36* 56.69879' N / 32* 49.5315' W
Air Temp: 22.6*C / 72.68*F
Humidity: 82%
Sea Surface Temp (SST): 23.22*C /73.80*F
Salinity: 35.74 psu
Depth: 2068 m / >2 km / 1.28 miles

It was a humid day today making the normally hard workday for R/V
Knorr's Team all the sweatier. Clouds hung in for much of the day, darkening the ocean water from a brilliant, almost unbelievable shade of azure blue to a cold gray-blue. Frank Scofield, pictured above, is the retired Massachusetts science teacher who was instrumental in connecting Bob White and me with Dr. Keigwin and this voyage. Frank is always working hard - and always wearing that smile!

Today coring started early with the Giant Gravity Core (GGC) and fell short of the team's expectations. They managed to recover only about 234 cm (10.6 feet) of sediment
from a 15 foot-long piece of PVC. The picture to the right, taken Sunday, shows a 17-foot gravity core. It retrieved a fantastic sequence of sediments! When it was pulled up it was streaked with mud, all the way to the top, just as everyone was hoping! Mud all the way up the core shaft generally means that the corer successfully penetrated the seafloor to it's maximum extent.

Today's core didn't look like this picture when it returned from the seafloor. It was partially muddy and very broken! It did not cut deeply enough into the seabed. A section of the top of the core was left sticking out above the seabed. Look carefully at this image to the right - notice the large cone-shaped weight at the top. The top weight serves to push the core as deep as possible into the sediment. The corer is made of PVC piping which is very strong - but it has its limits. Today, when the core was lowered to the seafloor, the PVC portion left sticking out was overcome by the overhead weight which came down on the exposed end of the PVC, bending and breaking the core.

Luckily the sediment that was successfully gathered from the seabeds AND all of the equipment made it back to the boat!

A long core was completed, also with results that did not meet the hopes of the research
party. It, too, followed an extremely successful (long) core collected on Sunday. I'll discuss long coring in upcoming entries. The R/V Knorr has an long core icon aboard!

The team had a successful day with the multicorer - a high point! I will also discuss multi corers in upcoming entries. I find them very interesting because they are so small yet they play an extremely important role in ocean floor coring as they can capture sediments at or just below the ocean floor surface. With the larger gravity and piston corers you inevitably have loss of detail for sediments gathered near the surface. Yes, that's hook! Aren't you curious about multicorers now?

With all this mud being pulled up from the deep, the team must inevitably deal with managing it on the boat. When the corers are brought to the surface after gathering their load, the PVC containing the sediments is cut into sections that generally run
~ 150cm (~5 feet), capped and taped. These heavy sections are then brought into the lab where we measure them and gather some additional data before they are taken up to the deck above for cold storage.

Marti Jeglinski and Kathryn Rose, pictured here, and Sarah Schulenberg have been patient teachers for us "newbies", running through methods for anything they think we can handle on the ship. I have spent most of my time here in the lab (pictured above) running the sections of the cores through a somewhat finicky machine that measures the amount of metals and density of the samples.

From what I can tell and what I have heard, food on the R/V Knorr is great! Tonight our amazing cooks treated us to a terrific dinner of red snapper with black beans and spicy sesame noodles (among other delicacies). I figured the snapper must have been purchased in the Azores - but Bobbie and Erskine clarified that the snappers came from Barbados where they had sailed from on their last cruise. International dining on the high seas was a terrific way to close a long day!


  1. Wow!! Better than you can get in a highly populated urban area! How cool for you.
    Thanks for taking the time to keep us updated on what is going on out there. It looks like great fun (and hard work, of course).