Diatoms, Calcareous Nannos, and Radiolarians – Oh my!

Steve Hovan demonstrating the “toothpick” technique.
Inside the starboard side of just one of the JOIDES Resolution life boats.
Safety Drill accomplished!

Diatoms, Calcareous Nannos and Radiolarians, Oh my!  And that’s not all!  Today we learned about the types of sediments that are found in the world’s oceans!  The day started with getting the basics of sediment classification with expert, Steve Hovan, just one of our instructors here aboard the JR. Once we had a handle on all the ins and outs of the muck on and under the seafloor, we learned just how scientists use data to determine and classify the sediments that they bring aboard.  The Rockers we able to make the basic information on texture, color,  and any transitions from one color to another that might indicate the sediments have changed.  These changes can be records of shifts in climate as well as geological events like volcanic eruptions!  While, playing with long tubes of mucky mucky is fun, what was more fun was making the smear slides of the sediments and looking through the microscope to find out what’s actually in there!  We got some great pictures of micro paleo-fossils, that’s right, really, really, really old super-duper tiny fossils.

Today, we took a break in the day to have an all important safety drill.   It’s important to remember that while the science IS important, it is MORE important to make sure everyone knows what to do in the unlikely event that there be an emergency aboard. Each week at sea, we will have a safety drill.  That’s me in our lifeboat and talk about high-tech.  They are fully enclosed, have seat belts, and an inboard motor so that even in rough seas two of these boats can see the entire crew to safety and have two boats left over.  We don’t mess around with safety aboard the JR.

We ended the day concluding the test of the new and improved Dynamic Positioning System (DPS) which keeps the JR on point when drilling a core sample from the deep ocean.  It’s pretty impressive as the ship has 360 degree propellers the JR can lower at will to keep it from moving off target.  We got to watch them being lifted so we could sail on.  We’d been here off the coast of the Philippines for the better part of a day, so it’s nice to finally be sailing on towards Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Fair winds and following seas!  Guest blogger, Stephanie Milam-Edwards (Ms. ME) signing off!