Friday, November 2, 2007

More than 300 mbsf and in uncharted territory?

We are now describing core from below 300 meters below the seafloor. If we have interpreted the seismic data correctly, we are now in uncharted territory, never drilled in Antarctica before. (We are still waiting for confirmation from the paleontologists). The core is providing surprises every day. Last night we logged sections that were composed of layered (stratified) diamictites with rock clasts (stones), but also very delicately laminated rocks without clasts (see photos). Yesterday we found a diatomite (diatom-ite = rock made of diatoms) and the paleontologists are busy investigating samples. Brad Field is the sedimentologist currently responsible for making smear slides to investigate the rock composition under the microscope. A smear slide is made from rock scrapings and it is used for a quick and dirty initial investigation.
After we describe it, samples are taken from the half core for further study. Scientists on the day shift have a "flagging" party where they put little flags in the core at the locations where they would like to have a small piece of the core. The curatorial team then later cuts the samples out of the core.
The ANDRILL website is now also Live. Science reports are updated weekly and the next one will give an overview of the findings of the whole team. Check it out at

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