6 weeks 4 days
Sleep, or lack thereof
Submitted by Elizabeth Abernathy on Fri, 06/26/2009 - 08:04
So, last night, our first real night at sea (not in harbor), the wall started squeaking. Luckily, I had brought ear plugs, so I used them, and slept right through my alarm for a total of 9.5 hours of sleep. Good thing I caught up, because tonight we started hitting real waves, and I mean hitting literally! From my bunk, I can hear the smack of the water on the bottom of the ship, and I can feel the difference--we are not just pitching (prow of ship moving up and down), but also rolling (tipping from side to side). In addition to make the entire ship creak, it gives a feeling not unlike riding a rodeo bull in extremely slow motion. I am lucky in that I am still not seasick (!), but I had one of those nights where you know you must have slept some, but it seems like you remember every movement of the bed underneath you--what, you landlubbers don't have the bed move around underneath you?? How strange. I don't know if these blogs have a timestamp, but it is 4:45am, and I have been distinctly awake and hungry since 3:30, so I decided to get up and tell folks about yesterday.
Our big thing yesterday was looking at multiple lines of data about some example cores, and try to figure out what it could mean. My group was lucky in that our Magnetic Susceptability (basically, a proxy measurement for the amount of magnetic elements/minerals are found along the core) showed some very clear patterns: 3 "events" (spikes up or down) dividing 4 "zones" (distinct regimes that were similar in Magnetic Susceptability, either because it was quite variable, or with very little variance). After discussing all of our observations of trends in the data, we finally got to see the cores, which was exciting, but emphasized to me again how hilarious it is that humans always want to see with our eyes, because our eyes tell us a lot less than the computerized measurements! After all of that, John Firth revealed to us that all 4 of the holes (cores) were alike in that they all crossed the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, roughly 33-34 Mya. What is really amazing to me was the tidbit that the divisions of the geologic time scale were first developed by looking at faunal changes in rocks in the United Kingdom in the 1800s, but we now have global data gathered using modern methods (like ocean sediments cores!) that supports those original divisions. That is, they weren't just local phenomena, but reflections of larger changes in the Earth. As scientists, we have to be open to changing our hypotheses when there is new data, so it's nice every once in a while to find out that someone was "right"!