Blog Posts Tagged "Mid-Atlantic Ridge Microbiology"

Who am I and why am I here?

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jennifer Magnusson and I will be your onboard education officer for Expedition 336: Mid-Atlantic Ridge Microbiology. (Sounds kind of like a job on “The Love Boat,” doesn’t it?) I am excited to share my experiences during this expedition, and I hope that you’ll follow along from your classroom, lab, or armchair. Here’s the story of how I got here:

Packing for life at sea

What’s the one thing you would want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island? How do you live without the rest?

Bobbing like a CORK

It’s about 4500m to the seafloor where we’re working at Hole 395A. That’s about as deep as Mt. Rainier (in Washington State) is high, and almost 3 times as deep as the Grand Canyon! No wonder it takes so long to lower the drill string all the way to the bottom. But yesterday and today, we’ve been working on something that takes much longer—assembling the CORK

Logging 395A

One of the goals of our visit to 395A was to deploy an experimental logging tool known as the Dark Energy Biosphere Investigative Tool, or DEBI-T, for short. Logging tools are instruments designed to scan a borehole, after it has been drilled, to gain a better understanding of the characteristics of that hole. These instruments are lowered through the drill pipe and into the hole to measure characteristics such as density, porosity and conductivity. The logging in 395A was different in two respects: first, 395A was already drilled, and second, the instrument suite included DEBI-T, an instrument we designed to assess how many bacteria might be within the borehole.

Ode to Hole 395A

Goodbye, 395A. You’ve been a great hole. Ever since you were originally cored in 1975, you’ve been a source of new and wonderful scientific information. The rocks and sediment you gave up will remain in the great libraries of core for all time.

How do scientists know there’s life down there?

While we’re at sea, we’ve got this great group of scientists all together in the same place. Each one knows a little something different, so they all get together and teach each other about what they know. Yesterday, I got learn from Dr. Olivier Rouxel, a Petrologist from France.

Animals on the JR?

Who knew that there were so many animals onboard with us? Not real animals, of course, but machines and tools that help the drillers do their work. Lots of them have animals in their names…I guess drillers like animals. Listed below are just a few!

First core is on deck!

We have been drilling down into the seafloor for a few days at a new hole, U1382A, which is about 50m away from ill-fated Hole 395A. That’s only about 1/3 of the length of the JR, so it’s not that far away. First, we landed a re-entry cone with some casing (steel tube) to reinforce the hole once we started drilling.

A Thanksgiving Barbecue!

 Apparently it’s not a well-known fact that Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October. When we had a fabulous turkey dinner with all the trimmings this last week, I realized that the camp boss probably had no idea either, since he probably wouldn’t make two of those in one week! So I sheepishly approached him and asked if he knew about the oddly-placed Canadian holiday; he confirmed that he was “verra soarry,” he hadn’t planned on it. So instead of turkey and stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, we had our first BBQ on the bow!

The Weight of Water

Water is heavy! When we’re standing at sea level, the atmosphere is pushing down on us, but we don’t feel it because our bodies are pushing back out equally. But if you’ve ever jumped into a pool and swum down to the bottom, you can feel that the water pushes on you more that the air did. That’s called pressure, and it gets higher and stronger the deeper you go.