Alison Mote's blog

One Journey Ends, Another Begins!

It seems like not that long ago Exp. 341 scientists and crew were boarding the JR in Victoria, BC. In a few hours we'll be making the reverse trip down the gangway in Valdez, AK.

Getting Ready for Valdez

Just when we thought we had seen nearly everything on the JOIDES Resolution things have started to change. The crew is making preparations for our arrival in Valdez, AK on Monday. We will depart our final site tomorrow (Sunday) at 1:30 pm and are scheduled to meet the pilot at the mouth of Prince William Sound at 7 am.

Extreme Mountains, Extreme Sedimentation

A primary goal of Exp. 341 is to examine how changing the mass balance of sediments, i.e. decreasing the amount of sediments on land by glacial erosion and increasing the amount of sediments in the ocean via deposition, has influenced exhumation of the St. Elias Mountains. Southern Alaska is an ideal location for this study because of the huge amount of uplift in the Wrangell-St.

Our Fearless Leaders

Our journey has taken us from the deep sea (~4200 m ocean depth) to the continental shelf (~250 m ocean depth), and we’ve arrived at our final drilling site on the continental slope.

The Best of the JR

With a little over a week to go on Expedition 341, I thought I would reflect on my favorite spots on the ship. The JR has been our home for the past two months, and there are many things on this ship that I'm thankful for (the espresso maker & treadmill, to name a few!), but the following have been a highlight of this experience.

Coring is Never Boring in the Gulf of Alaska

We have had an interesting 4 days out here in the Gulf of Alaska at our 4th drilling site (U1420). Recovery has been spotty – from 0% to 94%, and the cores have mostly been filled with rocks and very little mud. We had some excitement yesterday when we recovered nearly 9.5 meters of mud in a single core, shown to the left being sampled by Dr. Lindsay Worthington.

A Ship with a View

Did you see the spectacular image of Alaska that was taken on June 17th by NASA’s MODIS satellite? Click here to see the cloud-free image of Alaska that captures wildfires, snow, water, ice, and large plumes of sediment entering the Gulf of Alaska. Alaska’s grand landscape is breathtaking from space, land, and sea. We are currently drilling into the continental shelf, approximately 22 miles from the mainland and can see this beauty firsthand. From the ship we can see the breathtaking snow-capped peaks of the Chugach and Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains, and when the cloud curtain isn’t masking our view we have a spectacular view of Mt. St. Elias (18,008 ft) to the northeast and the Bering Glacier to the northwest.

Seismic Profiles and S. AK Science with Dr. Lindsay Worthington

Imagine you had a freshly baked layer cake and wanted to sample some fruit layers in the middle of the cake with a straw. How would you know where to push your straw into the cake, or how far down to push the straw to sample the desired layers? One strategy might be to take an X-ray of the cake to determine the position of the layers inside. Geologists employ a similar strategy to image the rocks and sediments beneath the Earth.

Video Experiences with the JR (and an Interview with Dr. Alan Mix!)

One of the best parts of working as an Education Officer on the JR is interacting with so many interesting people. The scientists on board have a passion for their work and it shows, whether it's a scientific discussion in the lab, sharing their knowledge with students and adults during video broadcasts, or telling stories around the table in the galley.

A Morning List from Site U1419

Today is our 41st day at sea. A few people have asked whether I’m getting bored, or still enjoying the thrill of being at sea. It’s not even 8 am and these are the things I’ve seen so far today (in order):

1. A beautiful sun rising behind the Coastal Range of Alaska.

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