Mud, glorious mud! Cores, more cores. (and a bit more sightseeing in between….)

We spent a bit more time the day before last doing some more surveying. What that is– is sweeping over the area using our 3.5 to look into the bottom and see if the mud looks soft and core-able.  That surveying – or scouting as our marine the Jen calls it – has taken us...

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Madagascar

“Has anyone seen Kou?” Amy asked this morning, walking into the main lab with a toilet brush. We indicated he’d probably gone aft. Amy nodded and went aft. A minute later Sujata walked into the main lab brandishing the same toilet brush. “Where’s Kou?” she asked. “He needs this.” If you’re not an oceanographer, this...

Off the Coast of Ile Amsterdam

This morning I woke up to a strange, loud double-click sound and two taps on my bunk. The double-click was the 3.5 kHz sonar, reflecting almost instantly off the bottom about 450 meters below us. The taps on my bunk was Ryan letting me know we were within sight of Ile Amsterdam – and boy,...

Coring the Amsterdam Island plateau – it has its challenges and its pleasures

We came up onto the Ile Amsterdam plateau a few days ago and started looking for shallow locations to core.  One of the central objectives of this voyage was to get mud from different depths across a range of latitudes.  Why is that important? Because the ocean is not just one big bowl of homogenous...

BBQ on the Bow

It’s Hump Day! We’re officially halfway through our cruise here on the Thompson. It doesn’t really feel like we’ve been out here all that long, at least not to me – but we’ve all reached a rather slap-happy phase nonetheless. Jokes and smiles all around, at least when we’re not sleeping. In today’s cores, we...

Land Ho!

We sighted land this morning as we attempted another gravity core. Ile Saint-Paul was just off to starboard, quite a ways off and mostly obscured by fog. I say we attempted a gravity core this morning because we were unsuccessful – the bottom was too hard, so it just kind of bounced off and laid...

Neodymium and Creepy-Crawlies

This afternoon I found Tom in a strange position. He was sitting next to a sink in the main lab, feet dangling, holding a red funnel connected to a water jug, just kind of looking around, happy as a clam. I walked over to him and asked what exactly he was doing. “Technical stuff,” he...

U-Channeling and Pranks

Yesterday was a brief, late-morning flurry of activity followed by not much of anything. At the moment we’re steaming to Ile St. Paul, watching an incredibly dense and un-corable bottom on the echosounder. Earlier, though, we pulled up a long gravity core and described an earlier one as usual, taking u-channels and pinning. U-channels are...

The Carbon Cycle and Climate Change

Written by Zanna Chase Hi there, I’m Zanna. I’m an associate professor at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. I’m a chemical oceanographer and a paleoceanographer, with a bit of biological oceanographer thrown in. I like the title ocean paleobiogeochemist, but that’s a mouthful. Basically, I study chemical cycles...

In French Waters

Last night we crossed into French waters near Ile St. Paul – technically the Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding the islands out here in the middle of nowhere. EEZ’s protect the mining and fishing rights, but we still had to get permission from the French government to core and take samples. Our request to enter was...