Crossing the Ross Sea Polynya and other antics

The JOIDES Resolution is now following RV/IB Nathaniel B Palmer into the Ross Sea Polynya, which is Earth’s largest ice making factory. Cool air temperatures encourage surface water freezing which creates sea ice. Strong winds then move this ice around, freeing up more space for sea ice formation. The Ross Sea is highly productive in the summer months, where sunlight, a stable water column, and abundant dissolved nutrients stimulate huge phytoplankton blooms. These blooms are consumed by krill, which are consumed by predators like penguins, seals, and whales.

iceberg

The first iceberg spotted on our way down to greeting the RV/IB Nathaniel Palmer. Photograph by Bill Crawford

escort

The JOIDES Resolution being escorted towards the Ross Sea polynya by the RV/IB Nathaniel Palmer. Photo by Gary Acton

penguins

First (Adélie) penguin spotting! Photo by Gary Acton

Before we arrive at our first site, all scientists need to adjust to their shift time. (day shift is from 12pm-12am and night shift is from 12am-12pm). Apparently, there is no ‘right’ way to do this, but some of us attempted to pull an all-nighter fueled with coffee and movie marathons. Others opted for short sleeps and an early start. Those of us night shifters who were bored yesterday decorated the conference room to celebrate Rob’s birthday (our co-chief) and the catering staff prepared a cake and cupcakes.

movie room

Some of the night shifters enjoyed the movie room (Molly Patterson; USA, Brian Romans; USA, Isabela de Sousa; Brazil, and Jeanine Ash; USA). Photo by Kim Kenny

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Birthday celebrations for co-chief Rob McKay. Photo by Saki Ishino

During our transit, individual lab groups have practiced shipboard measurements and core descriptions on legacy cores recovered on previous Antarctic expeditions. The sedimentology team has discussed how to describe sediments from glaciomarine environments and practiced estimating grain size percentages and identifying minerals under the microscope. The physical properties group has reviewed methodologies for the required measurements. Kim Kenny, our on-board videographer has also been conducting short interviews with the science party- so stay tuned!

seds 2

Sedimentologists discuss legacy cores (Brian Romans; USA, Benjamin Kiesling; USA, Amelia Shevenell; USA, Saki Ishino; Japan, and Rob McKay; NZ). Photo by Mark Leckie

phys props

Physical properties night shift (Imogen Browne, USA; Francois Beny; France, Brian Romans; USA). Photo by Kim Kenny

 

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