Center of the South Pacific Gyre

Our current location in the South Pacific puts us in the center of the South Pacific Gyre. A gyre is a large (ocean spanning) circular movement of the surface water and in the southern hemisphere, the movement is counterclockwise. This area is considered to be a desert within the ocean because there is so little life. The result is that the surface water is extremely clear. Some of the scientists lowered a Secchi disk to test for water clarity and were able to see it down to a depth of 147 feet!

The sediment layer at this location is about 15 meters thick and the bottom portion of it is dark in color. The sediments were noticeably different in color and texture from the light brown clay sediments above. They were black and gritty.

Last evening, nature provided us with a splendid sunset (see photo below). The ocean water is very flat; it almost looks like the surface of a lake. Today, we are drilling into the basalt found below the thin sediments. Yesterday afternoon, the drilling crew pulled the drill pipe back up, put a rock cutting bit on, and began to lower the drill string late in the evening.