You may have noticed that we are wrapping up Expedition 342 a bit hastily. Well, it’s because we need to head into Newfoundland for medical reasons. We were on the last site, with one more hole to drill, but decided to head in two days early.
Let me assure everyone that the patient is fine, but we are being extra cautious. Our Doctor, the Co-Chief Scientists, Captain, and others had to make the decision to stop drilling and come into port early. It was a very serious decision that had to be made quickly. The patient was in the shipboard hospital and we were about to start drilling the third hole of our last site. Once it was decided that we would head in, there was still many hours of disassembling the drill string before we could get underway. Now, about 36 hours later, we are sitting off the coast of Newfoundland waiting for the Pilot boat to escort the JR into St. Johns. Once there, the patient will be the first person off the boat!
What does this mean for the science? Well, if you refer to the previous blog post about the Eocene-Oligocene Boundary, you will see that the last site yielded a spectacular expanded boundary. We usually drill three holes to ensure that we have covered any gaps in the sediment cores from the drilling process. Because we are heading in early, we only drilled hole A and hole B. Luckily the E-O Boundary was so well preserved that a third hole would have been icing on the cake. It just goes to show, you can never predict what is going to happen while doing science at sea.
In our midday meeting today our Co-Chiefs praised what our team has accomplished on Expedition 342. Not only did we accomplish all of the goals in the scientific prospectus, we also produced an incredible amount of quality data. Way to go Expedition 342!
Oh, and we’ve been seeing whales and puffins on the transit into Newfoundland!
There were 5-8 humpback whales in this group.