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Drilling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

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Author Topic: Drilling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge  (Read 840 times)
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« on: April 15, 2007, 01:19:08 am »

Cruise diary

Day 8: Monday 12 March - At the sampling area!
Position at midnight: 1347N, 4452W

The majority of the day was spent putting the finishing touches to our survey plans and potential drill sites. The leaders of the scientific team had meetings with the crew to finalise the approach to the sampling area.

Mid morning we crossed the Fifteeen-Twenty fracture zone. By the evening the ship was preparing to approach our first drill site and the excitement among us grew as our destination finally came within sight.

At 1:50GMT we arrived at our first site; quickly surveyed it and prepared to lower the rock drill to its first sight. The drill entered the water shortly before 2:00GMT. Unfortunately at 2:45GMT the BGS team lost communication with the drill and by 3:00 the decision was made to retrieve the drill and continue with a dredge whilst repairs were made.

At 10:00GMT Tuesday the dredge was on board with rock samples! More importantly we now have our first sample of mantle rock-peridotite, exactly what we were aiming to find at this site.

Watch this space for more exciting news and results!

Quote of the Day:
Bram: "Can you write down that boopy thingy?"
Kay: "Sure, wheres the whatsit thingy?"

The effects of the 4-8am watch are starting to take there toll on the team's conversational abilities!

Cruise diary

Day 9: Tuesday 13th March: Sampling area
Position at midnight: 1329N 4454W

After the initial excitement of the dredge this morning we returned to our first drill site which had to be aborted last night due to a loss in communication. The rock drill was successfully deployed and at 14:50GMT the seafloor came into view on the video link. We spent an hour or so searching for an ideal site to drill. An initial attempt to land the drill resulted in the drill toppling over onto the seafloor, the drill was righted and an alternate location was found.

As a marine geologist at the start of my career it was a very exciting moment to see the seafloor 2000m below us by a real time video link, to be able to see what I have been studying remotely was a great start to the day!

Unfortunately our excitement was short lived as after 55 minutes of drilling the drill bit became stuck and we had to retrieve the drill after only penetrating the seafloor by approximately 44cm. Once the core was on board we found it to be heavily degraded and fragmented mantle rock-not what we had hoped for condition wise but what we wanted from a geological perspective.


Workstations chart the progress of the rock drill 

 First sight of the seafloor!

Chris and the BGS drill team hard at work Deploying

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