A Lot to Chew On!

June 4, 2016: Day 6 on the ship and we’re not slowing down yet! As usual, we started our day with a gourmet breakfast and coffee, thanks to Paul and his crew.
After breakfast, the group met up in the conference room for a brief overview of the day’s schedule. Bill (master of the lens) summoned us to the Core Deck to instruct the group on saving photomicrograph images for later use.
After we all became experts in our fast-track photography class, we returned to the conference room for our morning session. Larry and Sandy co-taught the morning session, with our focus on Climate Cycles. The morning activity explored cyclic climate change from the geologic record. Working in small groups, we discussed the data sets provided and studied methods used to analyze cycles. These methods included core data, Carbon and Oxygen isotopes, the relationship between the Sun and Earth, and much more. This activity helped us to make connections to lab work we had done earlier in the week, giving us a greater understanding of the scientific research performed aboard the JOIDES Resolution.
We made it to lunch! Another beautiful day in Cape Town allowed several of us to enjoy our lunch at the picnic tables towards the bow of the ship. The winter weather of Cape Town was no match for us; sweatshirts under the bright sun were enough to keep us warm. When we finished eating and were enjoying the view, we caught a glimpse of marine wildlife near the dock. Wanting to get a closer look, we walked along the pier and waited patiently. All of a sudden, WE SAW…..
After lunch, we gathered our hard hats, safety glasses, and cameras for a tour of The Bridge. Mike Storms, the Operations Superintendent, led the tour that started in the Engine room, where we learned about the operations that provide the ship with potable water, heating and cooling, and the waste systems. We then made our way to the Bridge, where Mike explained the Dynamic Positioning system, which keeps the ship stable during drilling. Next the captain joined us on the Bridge and answered questions about steering the JR. We ended the tour overlooking the Drill Floor, where several workers were hooked up high on the derrick performing ship maintenance.
Following the tour, we reconvened in the conference room to continue instruction from Larry and Sandy. The afternoon’s agenda included discussion about The PETM, also known as The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum Event. This is where the chewing got tough! We analyzed more tables, graphs, proxy data, graphics, and text, followed by intense small group work and whole-group discussions and explanations. Boy were we exhausted!
Time to digest. Several of us went for a walk while others went straight to dinner. But before we could turn off the gears, we had to vote for our School of Rock 2016 T-Shirt logo, all designed by School of Rock-ers. They were all fabulous designs, which made it difficult to vote for only one!
It was a challenging day of learning, but well worth the gains in knowledge.
Signing off. Jill Weaver and Stacy Terlep