The last few days have been intense from a science standpoint. There is so much going on all at the same time that it’s mind-boggling. We started both yesterday and today working in the core labs studying archived core samples to learn about the composition of sediments from the ocean floor. They have samples from all over the world. One of the cores I examined today came from the seafloor between Australia and Antarctica! It was drilled from more than 4000 feet BELOW the ocean floor. We did visual examinations for color, texture and changes in the layering, and then prepared smear slides for microscope viewing. I can’t wait to show these slides to my students. There are all kinds of tiny microfossils embedded in the seafloor sediments. While we are in the labs, learning about cores, we’re also watching the ship’s monitors to see the engineers assembling the CORK mechanism that is being installed in the seafloor. Last night at about 1 AM they sent down the first part, which is called a reentry cone. That piece allows them to send more instruments into that drill hole later.