Stepping-Stones to the Future

Geology gives us a way to look back in time. But to see some of the earliest forms of life, you don't need a drilling ship like the JOIDES Resolution. You just need to take a trip to Shark Bay, Western Australia, to visit the Stromatolites.

There Will Be Mud

We’ve arrived at site 4, and are making great progress, recovering about 40 metres of sediment an hour!
Though this site seems relatively easy to core, it presents two interesting challenges. First, the sediment so far has a VERY strong smell of rotten eggs. Secondly, we’re drilling right in the middle of the Carnarvon Basin, the most productive petroleum field in Australia. This makes things tricky.

The Other Twelve Hours

An albatross arrived today, with an email for me. It read:

Dear Tom,
I've been following your blog for some time now, and while sedimentology and core sampling are all terribly interesting, I want to know about the people behind the science!
What do you do in your spare time?
Sincerely, a fan

It's Humpback Day!

Just after lunch one of the scientists burst into my office. “Whales!” they yelled, before running out to the portside. I grabbed my trusty ‘nocs and followed. 

Oh, for Chert's Sake!

From site U1459C we have a core that shouldn't be


Sometimes when we’re trying to get a core, we end up with  just an empty liner. We expect that to happen. What we don't expect is getting a core when we aren't even trying! This happened on Hole C, and left even our experienced geologists a bit baffled.

Even Empty Cores Have Silver Linings

We've finished drilling at site U1459A, and it was certainly a challenge. It didn't have the chunky fragments like U1458 (the first drill site), instead the sediment switches unpredictably between rock-hard carbonate layers, and soft sediment, making consistent coring incredibly difficult. But we're learning from our struggles!

Excitement in the Magnetic Field

Meet the expedition's palaeomagnetists, Millie and Daniel. They're looking pretty positive, but they have had a VERY slow expedition so far. That all ends today.

#typicalfieldworkday & Happy Birthday Briony!

First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIONY!! One of our paleontologists (benthic foraminifers) and the most awesome person you will ever meet. :3

A slight impediment to our sediment

The first coring has NOT run entirely as planned. The scientists had their tools ready at 7pm, eagerly awaiting the first core. For many, this is their first expedition with the JOIDES Resolution, and the whole process is new and exciting (and a little mysterious). 

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