Tracking the age of the core

Does the grey stuff in the bowl look like common mud to you? Maybe for us but definitely not for our paleontologists! This is a very special part of the core, delivered quickly to their lab soon after the core reached the core deck. These sediments were in the core catcher, at the bottom of the core. They are the oldest sediments of each core that we recover and our paleontologists come at each “core…

The crucial role of ice shelves

The crucial role of ice shelves

What is an ice shelf? Ice shelves are floating tongues of ice that extend from grounded glaciers on land. The place where the ice sheets touch the ocean floor is called the grounding line. The grounding line is the border between the floating ice shelf and the land-based ice sheet. Ice shelves surround 75% of Antarctica’s coastline and they can be up to 2000 m thick. The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest one, and…

Celebrating 60 years of Antarctic Scientific Research and 50 years of Scientific Ocean Drilling

Celebrating 60 years of Antarctic Scientific Research and 50 years of Scientific Ocean Drilling

Guest post by co-chief scientist Laura De Santis from Instituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS): This year the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) mark six and five decades, respectively, of successful international scientific achievements. SCAR, with a membership representing the scientific communities of 43 countries, is an international network of thousands of scientists who share a common ambition to carry out Antarctic science for the…

360 Video: Core on Deck

360 Video: Core on Deck

This is our first in a series of 360 videos. This video shows a core coming on deck on the catwalk. It fades to a microbiologist taking a sample from the core, and then the technicians beginning to take the 1.5 meter sections of the cores into the lab. On the wall opposite the core liner, you can see a micropaleontologist waiting for the core catcher sample to take back to the lab. In the…

The timelords of Exp. 374

The timelords of Exp. 374

During Expedition 374, there are 7 micropaleontologists and 2 paleomagnetist specialists who are working together to track the age of the cores. Meet the team and learn more about their work in the video below: What are microfossils? They are fossilized remains of tiny organisms such as algae. The fossils are formed from the hard parts of the organisms. We call these hard parts a test, which is really just a tiny shell. They are…

What’s the food like?

What’s the food like?

It takes a lot of food to keep 130 crew going for 64 days at sea. Tim, the catering manager or “camp boss” was responsible for ordering and loading enough food to keep everybody happy and well-fed for the whole time, and he’s done a great job! Everyone is working on shifts, so there are hot meals every 6 hours (6am, noon, 6pm and midnight). There’s usually 3 choices of protein and a vegetarian option,…

Not all ice sheets are the same!

Not all ice sheets are the same!

The Antarctic ice sheet is the main polar ice cap of the Earth and covers about 98% of the continent. About 61% of all the fresh water on Earth is held in this ice sheet which covers almost 14 million square kilometers. However, the ice sheet which covers West Antarctica does not have the same behavior as the one which lies on East Antarctica. This picture shows that the average ice thickness is different across…

Paleomagnetism for Rookies-Part one

Paleomagnetism for Rookies-Part one

Everybody knows that Earth has magnetic properties and has seen a compass needle moving towards the north. It’s due to the fact that Earth acts, in first order, as a giant bar magnet. Earth produces a magnetic field that extends from the interior of Earth out into the space. The magnetic field of Earth can be described at any location on Earth. The angle of this magnetic field relative to geographic north is called declination…

The night has disappeared!!

I am on the midnight to noon shift so every day, I start my work at midnight. And, yeah, it’s kind of awkward to wake up at 23h30, even on Saturdays and Sundays and go to work at midnight. But I can’t complain at all. Take a look at the view that I had on the sea this morning at midnight! And it’s quite the same every day since we are drilling in the Ross…