A factory of mud

May 25th, 2009
The last few days have been very very busy.  The people on the JOIDES Resolution have been bringing up many many cores of mud.  They brought up 48 cores of mud for a total of 449.8 meters (1484 feet) which is as long as 50 school buses!
A new core was brought onto the ship every hour and a half.  Unfortunately, it takes about 2 to 2 and a half hours to describe every core, so we ended up very behind, very quickly.  The scientists are split into teams, and all of the teams eventually found their rhythm.  My team started to work like a factory.  As soon as a new core was split, we all started to clean the core so we could take its picture.  The core would then have its picture taken, and measured to see what color it was.  While this happened, one scientist would take very small pieces of the core and look at them under a microscope to see what plants and animals were in the mud.  Then the core was moved to another table and carefully described to see what colors, and what changes occurred in the core.
All of the teams of scientists worked very hard, and very long to do lots of science on this mud from the seafloor.  In many ways, you can think of the JOIDES Resolution as a factory for mud.  The mud is brought up from the bottom of the ocean, studied, and packaged so that scientists can get small pieces of it to study later.  We will start bringing up more cores later this afternoon from a new hole that we will dig in the seafloor, and we will be busy once again.