What is All of This Coring Stuff about Anyway? Part 2 – Day 21, 7/25/2009
This is the second installment in the two part summary of the life of a core on board the JOIDES Resolution. They are the ultimate reason we are out here, so what happens to them should be everyone’s primary concern. So where were we? Oh yes, we had just finished a series of steps that allowed us to learn a little bit more about the cores while they are in their whole state. Now let’s see what happens next.
- Core description – The “archive” halves of a complete core are sent to a table where each is sent to be imaged. During this process the surface that was cut is scraped clear of any material that may have been moved during the cutting process. The revealed surfaces are visually described by sedimentologists as the imaging station takes detailed digital images of the cores (see the teaser image). The magnetic properties are often measured at this point. After this each core section is wrapped in plastic, stored in containers called “D tubes” (because they hold the half cylinder D shaped cores), boxed for storage and taken to be refrigerated. Below is the imaging station.
Sampling – The “working” half of each section is placed on a table where those scientists working on a sampling shift collect the predetermined samples from areas designated for testing. Spot samples can be taken for interesting or potentially fragile zones that appear. These samples will eventually be tested for physical properties, sorting by sediment size and composition, microbiology (what life is in them, or byproducts of living things), paleontologists (those who study microfossils and remains of organisms such as forams, radiolarans, dinoflagellates and ostracods). If any testing is done at this point it is minimalistic so that the cores can be better characterized for later detailed sampling. See some of the sampling going on below.