We have reached site U1367 and are back to drilling. We arrived last evening and began lowering drill pipe down to a depth of about 4700 meters. That’s a lot of pipe! Sediments are not expected to be very thick at this location as the ocean floor is younger.
The drill pipe is about 5 inches in diameter. Three 10 meter sections are permanently connected together to make a single 30 meter section. It is much faster to string these longer sections together rather than many shorter lengths. The long pipes are stored in a pipe racker system toward the aft (back) of the ship, which mechanically lifts the pipe up to the deck floor near the drilling derrick. The pipe is then lifted into the derrick where it is attached to the rest of the pipe string already hanging from the bottom of the ship. The pipe is lowered deeper into the ocean and the process is repeated many times. The core liner is eventually dropped down the inside of the pipe to retrieve a sample.