Thin Sections – Jacob Virtue

The weather is very nice today and we should be arriving at our next drilling site about mid-day. Last evening the scientists presented their findings up to this point. Results, so far, are still preliminary.

As I mentioned yesterday, petrologists use thin sections in their work. Thin sections are very thin slices of rock viewed under a microscope and are made on board the ship. Today, I will highlight, Jacob Virtue, who has this responsibility.

Jacob Virtue is a temporary lab technician on Expedition 329, a position he also held on Expedition 317. He recently completed his bachelors degree in geology from the University of Tasmania. Jacob was born in Canada but moved to Tasmania when he was eight years old. His shipboard duties include helping out in the core lab, but his main job is preparing thin sections for the geologists. The first step in the process is to rough cut the rock up in the core lab. It is then glued to a glass slide and cut again to get its thickness closer to what is needed. Then the grinding and polishing begins until the end product is a very thin layer of rock that can be studied under a microscope. Jacob learned the technique while in college and he has honed his skills here on the JR. He would like to pursue a Masters degree in the near future.

In his spare time, Jacob likes to scuba dive, kayak, and fly helicopters and small planes.