Just a quick note to keep everyone updated on activities onboard the JR. The last several cores have come up less than perfect, showing signs of problems with the bit or the material we’re drilling into. Some of the last core contained lots of drilling mud, which looked like chocolate milk, not a good sign. Another core came up with bits of rubble and it isn’t known whether it was a malfunction of the bit, or perhaps we’ve stumbled on a fault. Either way, the Operations Superintendent, Kevin Grigar (whom you met it a previous blog), gave the call that it’s best we start to case.
Casing a hole is more-or-less like plastering a wall on the sides of the hole. It will provide a clean cut (no snags) way down to lower depths so we can obtain core from our target zone (~2,000m below sea floor). The team must drill another hole, hole E, and we are planning on casing to about 1,000m (where we left off). Casing takes a LOT of time to do. They estimated TWO WEEKS to case down to 1,000m. This means NO CORE for two weeks. The science team were kind of grumbly about this, as they are here to analyze core! So that’s the bad news.
In any event, casing must be done. Hopefully the scientists have plenty of other things to work on and wont be too bored! The good news is, we witnessed the re-entry cone being lowered through the moon pool. Every time the moon pool is opened, it’s a good time.