Stormy weather

I woke this morning to the rocking and creaking of the ship which told me that the weather had again changed and that we were now experiencing rough sea conditions. The last time this happened was several weeks ago when we had to abandon drilling at Site U1432.

Back into basement

My photo today shows the results of our drilling over the last half day in our attempts to get some more volcanic rocks close to the old seafloor spreading center in the southwestern South China Sea.

Age arguments

We are now drilling in our new location, Site U1434, just north of our last drill site and the scientific party are mostly writing their reports and waiting for the new material to arrive.

Excellent Logging

Our final phase of activities at this site was to run a suite of downhole geophysical logs and they have proven to be particularly successful because of the very good condition of the hole. Because we did not encounter any sand in this particular location and the borehole was less susceptible to caving in which made for very good conditions in which to operate downhole logs.

Igneous Sampling

Today was a day for catching up by most of the people who work in the core processing end of our operation, especially as it will not be long until we are moving again to our next drilling location even if that is not very far away.

End of the hole

We have now decided to stop coring at the site because our rate of penetration had decreased to a very low value so that we were spending a lot of time acquiring a relatively small amount of material and the co-chief scientists decided to curtail further activities so that we save some more time for sampling at other locations.

Radiolarians to the rescue

Drilling into the basement now to make sure we get enough material for the radiometric dating that will confirm the age of seafloor spreading in the SW basin. It’s important to try to get some lavas that are not too altered so that reliable eruption ages can be measured allowing us to test the tectonic models for the SW basin.

Touch down!

A much better day on the JOIDES Resolution today and indeed a banner day because we have achieved one of our major stated objectives by finally reaching the basaltic basement at Site U1433.

Steady as she goes

We are getting closer to basaltic basement now but still have a couple of hundred meters to go before we can breath easily.

Half way there

Another day of steady progress drilling to the basement and we are now over half way to our target. We don’t want to go too fast because this would indicate that the formation is soft and therefore liable to collapse which would stop us getting to basalt in the end. Like many good things basement is a pleasure to be waited for. Fortunately we have been going at a good pace.

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