Here I am trying to stay dry as it was raining when I got up this morning. It looks like it may get better as the day progresses but we’ll see. We are drilling our last hole at this particular location in the ocean and then we will move eastward.
One of the scientists on board is Rob Harris from Oregon State University. He is interested in how hot water moves through sediments and the hard rock of the ocean floor (called basalt). You might be wondering how water can flow through hard rock. Stresses on the rock cause it to crack. Some of the cracks are wide while others are quite narrow and this provides a path for the water to follow through. As water flows sideways through the cracks or fractures through older and older basalt it may be stopped or prevented from flowing further because the fractures "disappeared." They haven’t really disappeared but pressure may have squeezed them shut or they may be filled with mineral material that filled them. Some scientists believe that water cannot flow through rocks older than 65 million years while other scientists, like Rob Harris, think that the water can flow through the older rock. That is why Rob is out on this expedition. He wants to find out, as we eventually will drill through rock older than 65 million years. The photos below show Rob Harris at work in the core lab on the JOIDES Resolution.
The last photo today is of a guest visitor that we had yesterday.