What lies on the sea floor?
Before we transited to our last site the JR took time out to test the VIT (Vibration Isolated Television) camera to view the seafloor. Drilling and down hole logging had been completed so it was an opportune time to trial this new device and gather more information about marine sediments.
Many of us sat and watched on remote TV as it was deployed. It reminded us of watching the astronauts traveling to the moon all those years ago; the grainy grey picture, the early morning hour and the painfully slow descent seemed to last for what seemed like ages.
The remote video camera was attached to the drill string. The drill string was used as a guide as the VIT was lowered to the sea floor by means of an armoured coaxial cable attached to a winch. Taking about 30 minutes to reach the bottom, the powerful lights enabled us to visually travel through the water column as the camera moved downwards.
Every bit of information about the sediments we gather is extremely valuable to putting all the pieces of the Expedition 341 puzzle together. This is a once in a million opportunity and once you are out here it’s best to collect as much information as possible.
We have been drilling through all sorts of layers of earth and sometimes large rocks are found in the drill hole. Are these rocks from the various layers we are drilling into or have they fallen from the seafloor into the hole during the drilling process? This information is crucial to scientists onboard who need to determine the ages of the layers and where the rocks originated.
The underwater lights were so bright, with a range of about 20 feet, that we could make out fish swimming by and a few other little creatures whose identities escaped us into the dark. But once it reached the bottom there was just soft sediment and sand, no boulders or rocks to speak of. Interesting to observe this information and put another part of the puzzle into place!
The VIT emerging from the moonpool.