Wanna Get Some Mud?
March 5, 2010
Day 7 of our cruise was a day of fast decision-making based on data recovered. In other words, it was science at sea! We finished our Po-go conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) cast, and took samples for traces of chemical compounds that would indicate the presence of hydrothermal plumes or methane seeps. Based on our results, we steamed to our next stations where we deployed the multicore. We waited patiently for it to go down to about 2,600 meters (8,530 feet) — and then turned on the lights! After we got a good view of the bottom, we started surveying what seemed like an interesting geological feature (we hoped), related to the effluents of chemicals from the sea floor.
After two hours of “Oohhh!! Aahhh!!" and “Look, what is that?" we took cores of the sediment and started the long haul back up to the surface. By the time it came up we realized that there were no sediments inside of the cores. We had also lost a bottle. Not the best sampling night, but we got right back to work and started the processes of doing another Po-go cast.
Talking about how I’ve spent my last few days here, I should start by saying that I’m interested in taking samples from the Peru Chile Trench. We are scheduled to get there March 15, so most of my science and preparation won’t happen until a few days before then. But that doesn’t mean I’ve been sleeping this whole time! I have been aiding Alexis Pasulka on her sampling scheme; after all, it is always good to have someone to bounce ideas off and an extra hand to collect water and sediments. So I’ve been busy filtering and processing samples for microorganisms.
Since Alexis works with bigger microbes and more fragile critters than I do, I've learned a different mindset and different techniques for processing samples. I feel really lucky to have had the chance to learn all of this!
Besides the water, sediments, and doing some pre-preparing for my sampling, I’ve spent some of my time writing songs about the cruise and playing guitar. Everything goes so much better with music. In fact, Christina Tanner, Ben Grupe, and myself wrote a song today about our hope for finding a plume and getting sediments to work with. We call it “Have a Little Faith.”