Colors of deep sea sediments

Covered by more than 4000 meters of water in the South China Sea, deep sea sediments come out to the surface during the drilling. Apparently they are quite uniform and dark, ranging from gray-black to greenish. However, a good close up can reveal some funny colors. Here an example with some psychedelic quartz grains, observed under Polarized light.

Mysterious sand

Slow but steady progress today on the ship.  We are bringing up small volumes of sand that was largely unexpected in such a deep water setting, especially given the earlier results from the southern Chinese continental slope courtesy of ODP Leg 184 -- which showed only clays in deep water.

Deeper and Deeper

We are now almost half way to basement here at Site U1431 and the hole is fighting us a little as we make progress. Recovery, the proportion of sediment that is actually brought back to the surface compared to how much the drill advances, has fallen away and we are in a lean period. Experience suggests however, that this is a passing phase that can be caused by number of things.

Smoother going

Today has been a much smoother day of operations for us in the core lab now that we are getting used to the equipment, the software and indeed each other. The day started well with a small group meeting (pictured) just to touch base and see what had happened in the past 24 hours.

Getting into the routine

Second day of successful core recovery and we are now getting the hang of the various systems both human and mechanical around the lab that let us get our work done.

Core Mayhem

A little later than we expected, but the first core has arrived and after a suitable period of rest and heating to room temperature the core was split and the serious work could begin at last.

First Core!

It took its time coming and kept getting delayed but like many exciting things worth waiting for the first core finally arrived late but on deck about 1 AM last night local time. We had spent a rather unfocused day completing our reports with the high point being a rather excellent Chinese dinner to celebrate the new year largely made by members of the Chinese scientific party.

Dumpling Party

Two days ago we had the Chinese New Year. As cores have not arrived yet, we tried to keep our hands busy making Chinese dumplings. People say that you need to be patient to count microfossils, but dumplings for me are even more challenging! Thanks Xin-Su 'the dumpling master' and other Chinese scientists arranged everything and taught us how to make them.

Life as a Staff Scientist

To say the life of a staff scientist at the start of an IODP expedition is busy is a serious understatement! I could easily work 24 hours a day and still not feel like I am caught up. Fortunately, there are so many experienced technical staff and scientists on the JOIDES Resolution that most things would get done even without me.

First day at sea

Our first proper day at sea and I awoke with the rather pleasant sensation of the ship rolling gently which is a marvelous and comforting feeling when lying cosy in your bunk, but today was not a day for a long rest because we had already been told that at 10:30 this morning they would be our first lifeboat drill, an essential part of the safety of any major seagoing vessel.

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