7-29-2010: New (uprighted) video loaded on "Nitty Gritty" :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hump Day

Today is the midpoint of the cruise. 29 days on site and 29 left until we return to Victoria, Canada. Time is really flying! We're still making good progress despite the slight delay due to cruddy borehole conditions. Knock on wood, no major issues yet. :)

The last 6 days just ran together into one drilling-cleaning-coring marathon. So far, we've reached 460 mbsf (meters below seafloor) and have retrieved 16 cores. We microbiologists have gotten quite a few samples with alteration materials along fractures and veins and we plan to get a few more out of the last few cores. The petrologists tell us that the cores have been really interesting (translation: cool but difficult to interpret). In short, they think we're in an upflow area where hot water is circulating up through this section bringing with it hydrothermal metal sulfides. We've hardly seen any carbonate in our samples indicating to us that we're in a higher temperature alteration area. Will be interesting to see the last few cores and to assemble the storyline for this borehole. A couple more days and we should be ready to log the hole (get data on the diameter with depth and other parameters down the hole) then do what we all came here to do...install the CORKs!

Speaking of CORKs, yesterday several of us got to paint them using epoxy paint (the same stuff they paint boats with). SO much fun! We strapped on our steel-toed boots, our hard hats and our safety glasses and went to town personalizing our CORKs. Pictures to come (don't have any on my camera so I gotta wait until some are posted on our shipboard server.)

Today is another fun-filled day. After the science party met for our daily discussion of the core samples, several of us watched the outreach team try out their home-made ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) in an inflatable pool on the sun deck. They even let us and some of the engineers drive! It took 4 days, lots of soldering, taping, drilling and wiring to get these little guys together. But they were totally worth it! The outreach team was able to pick up Lego rings from the floor of the pool and have ROV battles. Bejonty, one of the outreach officers, made a Lego man in a Lego raft and the other outreach officers had a blast sabotaging it, flipping it over and well...destroying it! Lego man underwent quite a few reconstructive surgeries only to be sabotaged over and over. We were all 5 again and it was such a blast!! Even Bubba, our Toolpusher took a break from the drill floor to revive his inner 5-year-old.

Here's a video of Leslie, our outreach coordinator, maneuvering an ROV in the pool:

Tonight, the science party has a "Back to the Eighties" dance party planned to celebrate Hump Day. Should be fun. Though, I think I will be a spectator/photographer for this one. :)

29 days left! Feels like yesterday we left Victoria (and forever ago at the same time.) We still have a lot of energy (and fresh veggies/fruit) so in the grand scheme of things, we are all doing great! The next few days we're going to be coring but after that, there will be more to report as we start putting together our microbial observatories, our OSMO pumps and the CORKs.

Hurray for Hump Day!!


  1. RM wants to know if you have parties every day and more about the ROV battles in the pool. Were they fun to watch? ME asked who made the ROV's?
    Mrs. Lucy wants to know if the water in the pool is from the ocean. Mrs. T. wants to know if it was fun to drive the ROV's.
    We think your blog is very interesting and we can't wait for you to visit!

  2. Hi all,
    I was so happy to see your questions today on the Ask-a-Scientist website and here. :)

    RM - No, we don't have parties every day but we have had a few. It's really quite busy here so our days are pretty full. But we have managed to slip in a few dance parties, some poker nights and some Wii tournaments. :)

    ME - One of our scientists, Geoff, brought the materials for the ROVs and our outreach team made them.

    Mrs. Lucy - the water in the pool was from our wash water on board. It's not potable water. Instead it's used to wash the drill rig deck and other things. We have a water purification board on board so we have an almost endless supply of fresh water. They thought about pumping in seawater for the pool but they didn't have a pump that they could relay all the way to the top deck. :/ But it worked out. Tonight, they put in fresh water and we're going to do ROV's in the dark! I'll see if I can get some pictures of that.

    Mrs. T - It was LOADS of fun to drive the ROVs! The men (really boys :) ) on board were crashing into each other and destroying our Lego man. Then we had races and contests to pick up targets at the bottom of the pool. Totally fun. It's like MarioKart but with awesome ROVs and on a ship in the middle of the ocean. :)

    I'm glad you all enjoy the blog. There is more to come. Hope all is well back in the classroom. Feel free to send over more questions either here or on the Ask-A-Scientist website. See you later in September!