Actvity Summary: 3.9.2.haiku—a literary porthole into deep ocean drilling—strings together the voices of dozens of scientists who travelled from countries all over the world to live in close quarters and work together for eight weeks aboard the JOIDES Resolution, a legendary research ship. The poem describes, in sequence, 68 sediment cores spanning more than 70 million years and constituting the whole of hole (U1580A).
3.9.2.haiku captures exploration and discovery as it took place hundreds of kilometers off the coast of Cape Town, in the remote reaches of the Indian Ocean, far from the public eye. It’s an invitation for readers to engage with cores from the privileged point-of-view of researchers who were the first to see, smell, and touch material from deep under the ocean floor; who, after watching the cores be split open, spent hours analyzing each centimeter of mud and rock.
Haiku is an especially relevant way to package core descriptions from the Cretaceous period, which was the focus of IODP Expedition 392 to the Agulhas Plateau. An ancient poetic form consisting of 17 syllables in three lines (5-7-5), haiku compactly and powerfully captures moments of time . . . moments that, on the surface, may appear unremarkable but resonate with the deep truths. . . truths that emerge from paying close attention to the natural world.
The individual haiku are gems that reveal anticipation, frustration, awe, excitement, and wonder. Strung together, they uncover a trove of insights that span millennia. By allowing us to see ourselves as tiny points on a long ecological and geological spectrum, the collection reveals how fortunate we are to be alive at this moment, on this planet.
Illustrated by Marlo Garnsworthy
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
- ESS1. C The history of the planet Earth