First day of Coring

2/23/10

The crew and scientists of the Knorr have spent  four long days in transit. It was a good time to catch up on sleep and prepare for the monumental tasks ahead. During this time, we also unpacked the 30 crates and boxes of scientific equipment that we loaded onto the Knorr while it was conveniently docked in Tampa in January. All of our gear was stored two floors below main deck in the engine room.

Today we arrived on our first sampling location. Deploying the numerous instruments and coring devices is a very time consuming procedure. It takes over an hour for a coring device to be lowered to the ocean floor at 1700 m depth.  At a single site, we will utilize a box core, multi-core, gravity core, CTD rosette (for water samples and water chemistry), and a jumbo piston core. This requires at least 15 hours of labor to complete one location.

The first coring device utilized today was the box core. This apparatus is lowered to the bottom of the sea where is sinks into the ground. A trigger snaps the box shut, taking a bite out of the sediment, which is then pulled to the surface. We took several subcores out of the box core for further analysis. It’s a messy job, but once the cores were cleaned off, they revealed distinct horizon lines with darker sediment. The sediment is also full of forams. These carbonate producing phytoplankton settle to the bottom of the ocean when they die. Through analysis of their shells, we can determine what the temperature of the ocean was in the past.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “First day of Coring”

  1. Ben Flower Says:

    Box coring looks like great muddy fun! It’s amazing that reconstructing the history of the Amazon River can come from something as humble as fossils buried in mud!

    BTW forams are zooplankton…. They’re carnivores that eat creatures several times their own size!

  2. Tiffy Says:

    This sounds pretty cool, I can’t wait to hear more about this expedition. Keep the work up guys! =]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: