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

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Journey to the Center

This morning, we've reached ~500 mbsf (that's ~3200 m below sea level!) and collected our last core. Here's a couple of shots of what we've been doing the last 7 days.

Coming soon: A video of core coming on deck. The drillers transfer the core directly from the drillrig floor to the ALOs (Assistant Lab Officers) on the CatWalk. They prep the core for sampling then take it inside for microbio sampling.

<-- Here's what a typical core from this borehole looks like. Dark fractured basalt with some glass and some alteration (though you can't see it in this shot.) After we microbio folks have had our choice of samples (with approval from the petrologists) then the coreliner is cut and the core is cut, imaged. The petrologists go to work describing every last detail, from the color of the rock to thepercentage of alteration they have. Every day when we cross over (change shifts), we have a sampling meeting. At sample meetings, we all gather around, discuss the core description and decide where to take our shipboard samples

Once we get our samples to the lab, we sterilize our tools and go to town sampling our rocks. Then check out what we do with our rocks after we're done!

In case you can't see the video, here are some pictures we took.

Beth, Jim and I handle all of our samples in this aluminum rock smashing box (so that we don't contaminate the microbiology living on them). We use sterile chisels and gently chip at the rock using a hammer. We always wear safety glasses just in case a piece of rock flies off heading for our eyeballs.

Our rock smashing box.

And this is what we do to our rocks when we're done sampling them! We flame sterilize it. Now, don't try this at home - We had to have special permission to even have fire inside our box! Don't want to be burning down the boat or the house now, do we?

1 comment:

  1. Greetings, Amanda!
    Thank you for your reply to our questions. We thought of a few more for you:
    QW wants to know- Is your ship the same size as the ones they are using to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf?
    He also wants to know if, when you are drilling in the sea floor, the boat moves.
    LE asked: If you leave the drill in the seafloor for a long time (or forget about it), does it break or get stuck? If it gets stuck, then what?
    RM wants to know when there will be another graphic novel published.
    BG says: Boo! We can't view the video that you posted. Can you write to tell us exactly what you do with the rocks when you're finished studying them?
    LE wants to know how we can watch a video, other than youtube because that's blocked.
    AG thinks your work is cool!
    QW wants to know why we can't just call you on the phone...I know the answer to that, but I want them to read it from you. :-)

    We wish you well on the rest of your +-27 days and thank you, again, for your answers.