Behind the Science – Adam’s chronicle: why we did not core yesterday

When you are in the middle of the ocean coring sediments 600 m below the seafloor level that is a around 4000 m below the sea level you never know what could happen.

Who better than our expedition project manager, Adam Klaus, can explain why we could not core for today. Let’s read his words.

“When I woke up this morning, I expected to see the rig floor tripping pipe out of the hole. But my surprise I saw the drill string rotating, not moving up, the core line a t 100 m, and some guys working on something on the starboard side of the rig floor. I thought -hmmmm- something must have changed and assumed that Steve (Operation superintendent), Zhen and Joann (co-chief scientists) must have decided to take a few more cores. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Last night Core 68X was almost back up to the ship (at 100 m core line depth below the ship), the rubber bladder (like a bike tire innertube) that is part of the clutch on the drawworks failed. Without this we can’t raise the drill string – clearly not a good thing anytime – but especially with the bit over 600 m below seafloor and underneath thick zones of unconsolidated sands. Luckily we still have the top drive installed, se we can still rotate and pump seawater/mud to keep the drill string from getting stuck. We do NOT want to stop the rotation and pumping to get the core out – otherwise the sands will likely fall back down the hole and the drill string could get stuck (bad).

So, the guys on the rig floor along with the rig mechanics started to get to work fixing it. It’s not a small fix and is expected to take until late afternoon – presuming no substantial issues are encountered along the way.”

More soon. Stay tuned!