Life onboard our polar expedition

Life onboard our polar expedition

Much has happened in our 8 day transit from New Zealand to Antarctica. We learned about each other’s science and how we will work together in the coming weeks, hearing talks and taking tours. We crossed the Antarctic Circle and the Prime Meridian, and celebrated co-chief scientist Rob McKay’s birthday with a surprise party. Meals have been good, the gym frequented, sleep cherished. And during the transit we settled into life aboard ship. The ship…

Scientist Post: Imogen Browne

Scientist Post: Imogen Browne

Imogen Browne is a Ph.D. student at the University of South Florida studying under Dr. Amelia Shevenell. Both are onboard scientists for Expedition 374, working as a physical properties specialist and sedimentologist respectively. Check out Dr. Shevenell’s blog, “Expedition Antarctica“. We will be resposting content from that blog as the expedition goes on. Follow Dr. Shevenell on Twitter at @ashevenell and Imogen Browne on Twitter at @ImogenMireille. Journeying to the Ross Sea, Antarctica aboard the…

How does the JR actually drill a hole into the seafloor?

How does the JR actually drill a hole into the seafloor?

Expedition 372 is all about drilling holes into the seafloor to learn about the rocks below – whether it’s for Logging While Drilling (LWD) to learn about the geophysical properties of rocks in the subsurface or retrieving cores to look for the presence of gas hydrate and understand the relationship between gas hydrates and slowly moving landslides. But how does the JR actually do it? The seafloor is a long way down and now that…

Behind the Science – APC, XCB, RCB : a world of acronyms

Behind the Science – APC, XCB, RCB : a world of acronyms

One of the first things that I realized living on the JOIDES Resolution is that the people speak using a lot of acronyms. Some of the most mysterious for me were the ones related to the drilling system. During the first presentation our Expedition Project Manager Adam Klaus, explained that we would be using different drilling systems:  the  APC, then the XCB and the RCB . Let’s try to explain what these acronyms mean. APC…

How we drill and core in hard sediments and rocks

How we drill and core in hard sediments and rocks

When we want to drill into hard sediments and rocks, we have to change the drill bit. In the deeper part of Site U1480, we used an RCB (Rotary Core Barel) drill bit rather than the APC/XCB we used before for coring the younger, softer sediments.* One main difference between the two drills bits is that with the RCB the bit and the outer core barrel turn with the drill string. The RCB barrel is…

Even Empty Cores Have Silver Linings

Even Empty Cores Have Silver Linings

We’ve finished drilling at site U1459A, and it was certainly a challenge. It didn’t have the chunky fragments like U1458 (the first drill site), instead the sediment switched unpredictably between soft, and rock-hard layers, making consistent coring fairly difficult. This wasn’t a total surprise to us, since our seismic profiles had indicated this could be an issue. This info was collected by previous researchers, who sent sonic waves through the sea floor, and analysed the…

Drilling into the Depths of the Bengal Fan

Drilling into the Depths of the Bengal Fan

Preparations are underway at our third and deepest site. Our target depth is 1500 meters below the seafloor, which is made even more challenging by the fact that the seafloor is 3600 meters below the ship! To help us reach our target, we decided to install a re-entry system.  So for the past two days, we were busy assembling and lowering 400 meters of casing – hollow metal pipe about 11 inches in diameter.  This…

Our Coring Toolkit

Our Coring Toolkit

A few days ago we broke the scientific ocean drilling record for the deepest APC core ever obtained (687.4 meters below the seafloor!). But what is APC? And how does it differ from other coring systems? On the JOIDES Resolution, we have three different types of coring systems at our disposal.  The choice of which one we use depends on the type of material we are drilling into. For very soft to firm sediments, we use the advanced…