Not Me!!

No, not me! What is this blue line on me? The ship has some scientists on board who specialize in how rocks form; they're called petrologists. After the cores are brought on deck, it is the job of the petrologist to decide in which direction the rock core should be split lengthwise.

The Thin Blue Line

One of our petrologists, in this case Christopher Smith-Duque, must assemble the broken pieces of rock within the core in the correct orientation before splitting can occur. During drilling, the rock being cored often breaks up and turns within the core liner. The petrologist decides the direction that the core will be split and a blue pencil line is drawn lengthwise down the core.

Getting Close to the Cores

The rock cores are coming! Most of the cores that have been brought up from the seafloor so far have been of soft sediments. This hole is being drilled into hard rock so the cores are noticeably different. The scientists cut the rock cores in half, lenghwise, with a rock saw in the splitting room. One of the scientists, called a petrologist, decides the direction that the core should be split.

A Better Look at the Cores

The rock cores from hole U1365E are now being brought up to the core deck from the refrigerated room below. They have been in "storage" so that the microbiologists could choose the portions of the core that they need. In the photo, you can see a fracture filled with mineral material, most likely calcite.

Drilling into Rock

Hey! I want to help too! The first cores containing rock, rather than soft sediments, was brought up on the ship yesterday and several more came up during the night. Remember, work continues 24 hours a day. Underneath the soft sediments that we have been collecting is the hard rock of the ocean floor.

Coring the Basalt

   The first core of basement rock was brought on deck yesterday! There was a lot of anticipation, as we heard the infamous, "Core on deck" announcement; the scientists gathered on the core deck to see the first rock core of the expedition. The petrologists and mineralogists were especially looking forward to the moment.

Still Drilling!

JR here reporting on today's plan! The crew is still drilling into the basalt that makes up the hard rock of the ocean floor. It takes quite a while to cut a hole in solid rock. The scientists hope to bring the first sample of basalt up to the ship's deck sometime this morning. You can see the drilling area behind me. That big yellow thing in the photo is used to pull the pipe up and down.

Day 11

Good morning! We started off day 11 at sea with a nice sunrise. The weather is breezy and cool and the sky is filled with cumulus clouds. We are still drilling at hole U1365E; the first core of basalt is expected sometime this morning. The scientists have had several meetings in the past day to revise and discuss the plan for sampling the basalt.

Ocean Life Comes in All Sizes!

Now this is the life! Fresh air, wind in your hair, and a great view of the ocean. Last evening while lounging an ocean visitor came by. My friend, Whale, came to put on a short show for us. He swam across the front of the ship and then came down the left side (in sailor talk that would be the port side).

Ocean Life - Large and Small!

I know that the focus of Expedition 329 is microbial life in the ocean sediments but apparently the larger organisms are jealous and continue to remind us that they are here also. We had a whale visit us last evening and it provided a lot of excitment as it put on a show for us. The whale swam across just ahead of the bow, down the port side, and then back again to cross the bow a second time!

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