Days at sea: 40
The last week on the JOIDES Resolution was very exciting! Another storm hit us with wave heights up to 4.3 m. This meant we had to stop our operations and were “WOWing” (waiting on weather) again. While, usually, this is a time we mostly spend writing our reports, it was decided that we use the two days to do our first sampling party for personal research. A lot of analysis already happens on board, for which we sample the cores as they come up. It provides us with additional information to describe and interpret the cores. But every scientist on the JR also has personal research questions that will be addressed with more detailed analysis onshore. Most people are here to study Brothers’ active hydrothermal system, but Philipp and I are interested in the volcano itself. While Philipp focuses on the origin, chemistry and development of the magma deep beneath the volcano, I investigate how it erupts and forms the different volcanic deposits that we have recovered with our drilling. The samples we get from the cores are the heart of our research. This is what we all came here for so everyone is very keen to sample! It can be quite challenging to decide which samples are the best for your study – and you cannot take it all! Once we made our decisions, we had to write our wish lists and submit them to Santa, or rather the “Sampling Allocation Committee”. Since we did not recover a lot of core at the first two drilling sites, a lot of coordination, collaboration and compromises needed to happen to make sure that everyone gets what they need. It took many discussions and excel spreadsheets, but in the end we all came out of the process unbruised and successful! The technicians are now sawing the rocks into pieces for us and we are looking forward to receive parcels full of precious presents a few weeks after the cruise.
Once the seas – and we – had calmed down, operations were about to resume in Hole U1528D. But, again, the reality of drilling into a hydrothermal system hit us. Our drilling equipment finally surrendered to the heat (up to 225°C were measured with our logging tools!) and the acidity of the hydrothermal fluids in the hole. The end of our drill string – made of sturdy steel – was corroded and broke, giving you an idea about the force of these systems.
We therefore had to abandon our drilling of the cone and are now at our forth drilling location, back at the North western wall of Brothers Caldera. Stay tuned to hear what we will find here!