Light at the end of the tunnel

We are not there yet but there was a buzz around the ship this morning that we might be approaching our drilling targets in the seafloor igneous crust that underlies the approximately 980 m of sediment that we have been drilling through since leaves Hong Kong. Early looks at the new cores coming onboard show that we have now penetrated the sequences of volcanic sediments that have kept us busy for the last few days. Now we see signs of fine grained, typical deep sea sediments more typical of those deposited near a mid ocean ridge and possibly signs that we are approaching the true old seafloor of the South China Sea. When we finally get to that point is not yet clear as there is nothing like drilling to test whether interpretation of the earlier seismic, geophysical survey was realistic or not. Time will tell. In the meantime we have been testing our sea legs as the ship has been rolling in a good swell whipped up by a strengthened wind from the NE (see photo). Hardly some fierce storm but different from the pond-like stillness we have been used to up to this point. Its been like working in a building earlier. Rock solid, so you would hardly know we were at sea. It’s a testament to the drilling technology and the skill of the drillers that operations continue as though there is no change at all.

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