2 weeks 11 hours
Another Saturday Night
Submitted by William Hurd Fi... on Sun, 06/28/2009 - 08:49
Another Saturday Night.
Today was not like any other Saturday. We are now off the coast of Oregon and steaming toward our project site. We spent today looking at cores and learning about the geology,">chemistry and biology of black smokers.
Almost everyone has seen the National Geographic videos that feature these wonderful formations. Basically seawater circulates through the crust and overlying sediment and leaches ions and metals from the basalt at high temperatures. Then these mineral and nutrient rich materials are spewed out into the ocean depths. One thing that I learned today is that the minerals can be stripped out of the basalt leaving a totally different looking rock.
This afternoon we received a briefing about the project we will be working on when we reach the site. Deep beneath the ocean in some old boreholes is what is called a cork. It is a suite of scientific instruments that were placed in the borehole on previous cruises. Two of the corks were not sealed well enough and we will be attempting to pump down some cement to seal the cork. Think of it like this. Imagine trying to thread a needle from the top of a six story building. This is what the drillers, engineers and scientists are going to do on this trip. I thought my job was hard.