Cementing – right now!

Chatter on the ship suggests that operations have gone pretty well today. Some of my colleagues have summarized this process quite well, so I will not repeat it here. Words cannot express how impressed we are by the skills of all persons involved in this operation. Read the other blogs and you will know what I mean.

Today’s lesson was a surprise visit down memory lane for me. Dr. Leslie Sautter took us a bit further with her work on planktonic foraminifera. Colleague Malanie provided an excellent summary about what we did today. Be sure to click on her name to read her blog.

The forams we observed serve as a proxy for areas of upwelling. Upwelling in the ocean refers to the movement of cold, nutrient-rich waters that are brought to the surface by deep currents (as a function of changes in atmospheric conditions and temperature change).

The surprise? Well the cores that we sampled came from Leg 167, Sites 1018 and 1020. At IUP, the samples I processed for Dr. Hovan came from cores recovered from these sites. The ironic thing about it is that Steve was interested in the eolian (wind-driven) component of the samples. In order to isolate the eolian component, I had to dissolve the forams (and other calcareous critters) through a series of acid baths! I also had to remove the opalline silica component by heating the samples in water to put the opalline silica in suspension. Leslie had us put the samples in a fine sieve and wash the eolian component out of the samples! Dear Steve, I was a stone cold killer when I worked for you! I have to admit that I REALLY like the forams (blasphemy!). Anyway, we will take our lesson one step further tomorrow.

On a personal note, I am really enjoying the conversations with the IOPD staff. Each story is different, and all have been eager to share their knowledge and thoughts about life on this ship.