Smoother going

Today has been a much smoother day of operations for us in the core lab now that we are getting used to the equipment, the software and indeed each other. The day started well with a small group meeting (pictured) just to touch base and see what had happened in the past 24 hours. Our senses of humor had also improved because the pace is also a little less frantic as a result of the drilling getting slower as we go deeper.

The speed of penetration has slowed with use of the Extended Core Barrel (XCB) instead of the faster piston corer which had to be abandoned because the formation is getting too hard. Thank goodness the number of samples we need to take has reduced too. This can be a time consuming operation to do during a cruise and is often delayed until afterwards. Our group had several people very interested in the top 30 m or so and collecting this material, recording the sample in the data base and then backfilling the hole with expanded polystyrene is a lengthy process when it has to be done many times in a single 10-m core, usually with a sense of urgency in the air. Practice makes perfect too and we benefited a lot from the assistance of Denise Kulhanek, our staff scientist. I think we were all worried yesterday about giving people the wrong stuff or putting stuff in the wrong bags, which would make for possible disaster later so we have to be careful as well as fast.