When last we saw our story’s hero, the core, it had been through a traumatic experience.
Okay, actually it’s not traumatic, but it is interesting. When we left off, our core had just been split into a working half and an archive half. At this point, the archive half goes to the core describers. These are sedimentologists who describe just about everything about the core. They document the color, texture, grain size and uniformity of the core. they also run the core through a big camera that takes a life size photo of the whole core.
While the sedimentologists are describing the archive half and entering their descriptions into the database, the other scientists are taking samples from the working half of the core. At this point the core is still damp and soft, almost like modeling clay. Here is a picture of the working halves before any samples are taken. The flags are used to mark where the samples will go and who they are for.
A variety of different tools are used to punch out square or round sections of the core. After these pieces of core are removed, they are put in sample containers, then the samples get bagged by scientists. While they are being removed, each sample is entered into the computer database, telling where it came from, who it is for, and what testing they will do on the sample.
After the samples are all finished our nice smooth core looks entirely different. Styrofoam is placed into the spaces where the samples come from. These pieces let the scientists know for certain that a sample was collected in that location. It also keeps the side of the sampling hole from collapsing. Take a look at the sampled core below:
When they are through filling in the spaces with styrofoam, this core will be placed in a storage container called a D-Tube. Then it will be ready for storage.
What a difference from start to finish, don’t you think? In the future we’ll be looking at what happens to all those little chunks that were removed and seeing where they go from here.