Surprise! Core on Deck

Today was a day of renewed activity as we had core back on deck for the first time in while, if not for a very good reason. Fortunately it looks like the swells and the wind are abating and that we should be able to soon renew our efforts to deepen the cased hole to the depth where coring is supposed to have started. In the meantime we have a consolation prize of a little more than a hundred meters of clays and sands that may well tell an interesting story of recent environmental change over the last couple of million years in southern China. Deciding when to start and stop drilling is a decision taken by the IODP and SIEM drilling superintendents together with the chief scientists. I picture here today Jian Lin, our US co-chief, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Jian is an expert in seafloor spreading and geophysics and is now turning his creative powers to the problems of the South China Sea and reconstructing the complicated way in which the basin opened. Today however more practical questions raise their head in the form of when to renew the deep hole and how to budget the remaining time at sea. A unique opportunity to use this awesome vessel for science in this region for the first time since 1999.