Blogs

The Skinny on Thin Sections

A “thin section” of rock is a sample that is mounted to a microscope slide and cut so thin that you can see light through it.  The process of creating a thin section is a blend of artistry, technology and science.  It is also a bit of a dying art according to Emily Fisher, thin section specialist for Expedition 352.

 

Rushing to the finish – and a new site!

When drilling activities are completed at a particular IODP hole, several time-consuming things happen in quick order:

Bacteria in our Glass!

In an inhospitable environment (such as deep beneath the sea floor), you can surprisingly run into organisms that thrive in such conditions. These “extremophiles” live in such harsh surroundings that they are without competition from other organisms; their niche is secure.

Should We Stay or Should We Go?

There comes a time toward the end of the expedition where things can spin on a dime from having lots of time to not having enough. After the second bit change we were bringing up loads of rocks- sometimes recovering 70 percent. We were making progress toward drilling a column of rocks that would overlap with the rocks in the previous site to discover how this subduction zone was layered.

Geek blog: Ophiolites, and mixing scientists

The other reason, scientifically speaking, that we are drilling the Izu-Bonin Forearc on IODP Expedition 352 is to test ideas about a unique set of rocks that we find in mountain ranges.

The Chemistry of Cores

Petrologists identify minerals using tiny slices of the rock called thin sections; geochemists identify the chemical characteristics of these rocks.  Together this information can build a more complete picture of the core.

 

From rainclouds to silver linings

We’ve been hanging by a thread for some time now. 

Rig Floor Reflections

One of the best things about being an Expedition 352 Education and Outreach Officer is the opportunity to learn about all parts of the drilling process.  From the geology of the drill sites to the roles of each individual on the JR, everything is fair game; no question is too basic or trivial as everyone takes up the task of helping me learn.

Quiet Shifts, Crazy Crossovers…

This past week we completed drilling and geophysical logging of the hole at Site 1440B, and then we used the ship’s thruster system to slowly motor back the ~8 km to Site 1439, where at midnight we deployed a re-entry cone to set up for hard-rock drilling near Site A – first they quick-drill through the sediments, then they case the hole for stability before deploying their hard-rock RCB drill bit

Logging without an axe

Though structural geologists use our smaller sample of cored rock to form the larger picture of what its surrounding rock may look like, confirmation about the hole’s physical and chemical traits comes from the work of our logging staff scientist, Sally Morgan.

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