After securing all potential moving parts securely to the boat, we departed at around 2pm today (Feb 24).  We had a meeting where we discussed safety procedures and our work shifts. We are working four hours at a time with 8 hour periods between shifts. My shifts are from 4-8 am and pm. However, once we start coring, we will likely begin 12 hour days. Nicole (another graduate student) and I worked together prepping all the coring equipment and testing cylinders to ensure they fit correctly in the corer. We also worked to get the wet lab organized for when we  begin coring to ensure everything is in proper order.  We intend to use 2 types of coring equipment: a multicoring, which collects four cores at once each with a length from 0.5 to 1 m, and a gravity corer, which is used to collect one 8 ft long core. After each coring run, the cores will be brought to the wet lab for processing. The short multi-cores will be photographed and split into 1-2 cm intervals and then placed in bags for further analysis at Queens College. The long 8 ft cores will be transported in their original cylinders to Lamont where we will analyze them for geophysical properties (p-wave density, bulk density, magnetic susceptibility) I will add pictures of all this equipment. Currently we are sitting about 30 miles east of southern florida as we attempt to test the various equipment pieces to ensure everything is working correctly.

Today, we did a a test run of the CTD (picture included). CTD stands for conductivity (a way to measure salinity), temperature, and depth and is passed over the starboard side of the ship.  It is lowered to near seafloor depths as it collects continuous measurements of temperature, depth, and conductivity. The very bottom of the apparatus is what collects these measurements.  There is also a ring of water bottles which is used to collect water samples whenever it is triggered. If we do choose to collect water samples, we will learn what would be ideal depths as we lower the ctd toward the seafloor. When we raise the ctd toward the surface, we will trigger certain bottles to capture water samples at depths of our choice.  You may have noticed the picture of the computer lab. The computer labled CTD is where we instantaneously observe CTD measurements as it is lowered to the seafloor. Although it is mechanically lowered toward the sea bottom as well as lifted through the water column, the CTD requires considerable manual labor to ensure that its rise above the shift edge and return to the deck is smooth and does not damage the equipment. It is important to collect CTD measurements frequently and especially when we begin coring because we want to gather as much information as we can about a particular site in order to best understand its physical properties.

As we begin to utilize the multi-beam, side-scan sonar, and the chirp, I will provide a more detailed explanation regarding their utility for understanding the dynamics of the seafloor.

As we were increasing distance from the Florida coast, we were surrounded by dolphins. It was beautiful.

One Response to “Departure”

  1. Diana says:

    Thanks for the info, Katie. I watched the Discovery clip of Dr. McHugh too – I look forward to hearing about your findings. Good luck!

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