The Joides Resolution is an amazing ocean research drilling ship. It is 470 feet long and 70 feet wide. The first thing that captured my attention is its drilling derrick which stretches 202 feet above the water line and is capable of drilling through 27,000 feet (over 5 miles) of water. The purpose of this derrick is to drill and obtain cores from the ocean bottom.
When cores are brought on board, the scientific inquiry begins. The core is about the size of a swim tube and almost 10 meters long. It is then cut into 1.5 meter sections to make it easier to manage. The core will be split into halves with one half to be saved and the other half to be examined by scientists. The ship labs are equipped with the latest equipment for high resolution photographs, paleomagnetism, petrophysics, chemistry, x-rays, microbiology, and thin sections.
Scientists such as sedimentologists, geologists, biologists, paleoclimateologist, oceanographers, GIS specialists with then take samples to examine. We even have a geologist that specialized in "dust" on this voyage. Along with examing and testing these samples, the scientist will use the lab results to make interpretations of what information they can derive from these cores. Each scientist will use his or her expertise to add to this picture of the past. Imagine each scientist having a paint brush with one color. If only one color is used, you don’t have a very clear picture. But if each scientist makes a contribution, you will have a more clear painting or picture. One example is looking at the past so we can better predict what may happen in the future (i.e. global warming, climate change).