2/24/2014 – Feast and Famine

Katy writes:

Chief Scientist and Chief Rock

Chief Scientist and Chief Rock

The past 48 hours (approximately) have been relatively calm as far as work goes since some bad weather (35-45 knot winds) has halted over-the-deck operations. However, we were able to maintain station long enough (3.5 hours) for a rosette CTD and Amelia’s water pumping, which allows her and her colleagues at USF and elsewhere to collect archaea in different water masses and compare their population genomics. The 48 hours before these last two shifts (and I mean the full 48 hours) were packed with core sampling and collection. So as Michelle recently blogged, those days when we all count sleep as our “fun activity” of the day definitely come after these busy, but incredibly rewarding and exciting days and nights.

Good coring weather

Good coring weather

When the night-shifters woke up on the 21st, we saw two 3-meter kasten cores open on the table, being sampled simultaneously by the sizeable group of day-shifters. They had already taken Amelia’s DNA samples, foraminfera and organic geochemistry samples via syringes, and almost completed the diatom sampling for Amy. They had also brought up our biggest JPC to date: 13 meters!  All of these cores were taken at the same station, which had a lot of interesting diatom-rich layers that we were able to see in the open kasten cores and via the magnetic susceptibility in the JPC that we ran on the 22nd. The day-shifters were still wide awake and active when we came to relieve them, and we were excited to dive in to these new samples.

It smells as good as it looks.

It smells as good as it looks.

Our 12-hour shift was composed of almost finishing the sampling of one of the kasten cores (leaving just the archive tube and U-channels for the day shift to extrude), which included sampling for physical properties, diatoms, and making thin slabs. Tasha and Kelsey both spent hours wet-sieving for foraminfera in the samples that the day-shifters took. We also took three JPCs that were all short in length compared to the previous one (all three were less than a meter), and each JPC had an associated trigger core. We got some amazing outcrop material that is not typically targeted with the use of a piston coring device.

Collecting our JPCs each took an hour or so with the three of us (Kelsey Winsor, David Morgan and I) and Gene on deck. The process begins by patiently waiting in the aquarium room when the core comes out of the water, to extruding the JPC from the barrel and cutting the extra liner. After the JPC is capped and brought inside, we extrude the trigger core from its barrel and cut the extra liner as well. With three of these JPCs and with the kasten core on the table, we had an action-packed, science-filled shift!

1-JPC inspection

“All these cores seem to be bringing up mud. It can’t be a coincidence.”

The day-shifters awoke to the kasten cores that they had passed on to us, which they finished sampling fully on their shift, along with collecting another short JPC. When we took over for them, we ran magnetics on 5 JPCs, 4 JTCs (one of the trigger cores was sieved for rocks), 2 kasten core archives and one U-Channel, taking us to the end of our shift on the 22nd. They were able to finish the last U-channel magnetics, which completed our sampling until we are able to take another core.

Readying the underway CTD

Readying the underway CTD

Outside of our sampling in the aft dry lab, there was a 16-hour seismic survey being done while we were running magnetics, various CTD sampling, and multibeaming over that 48-hour period. This is just a small glimpse into the productivity of every person on the Palmer when the weather and sea ice permit us to collect and sample, and also shows the ambition and careful planning by the PIs and Chief Scientist, allowing us to have such amazing data collection.

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