11 March, 2010

The cruise is coming to a close and we are on our final transit back to Fortaleza, Brazil.  The very last core was taken at 11pm last night in 2800 meters of water, and we have been disassembling and packing our gear all day today.  We did a total of 90 deployments (including box cores, gravity cores, multicores, piston cores, in situ pumps and CTDs) during our 3-week cruise and surveyed much of the Amazon outflow region.  Overall we were very successful in obtaining oceanic sediment core and water samples, and are looking forward to getting back to the lab where we will be able to analyze the material in greater detail.  At this point we don’t know how far back in time a 50 meters of sediment represents.  We will have to radiocarbon date calcium carbonate microfossils (i.e. Foraminifera) in order to determine the age of our core material.

The science party of Leg 179-4 congregates on the deck for one final sunset

The RV Knorr arrives at the Port of Fortaleza early Friday morning. We can’t wait to get to the beach in Brazil, since we have been surrounded by sunshine and tropical waters for weeks now, but have not been able to go swimming!  There is still a lot of work to do though.  We have over 14,000 lbs of sediment cores that need to be loaded into a refrigerated shipping container on Saturday, so that they will be safely stored, until their journey back to the United States.

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