JC007: Drilling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge


Cruise diary

Day 9: Tuesday 13th March: Sampling area
Position at midnight: 13º29N 44º54W

After the initial excitement of the dredge this morning we returned to our first drill site which had to be aborted last night due to a loss in communication. The rock drill was successfully deployed and at 14:50GMT the seafloor came into view on the video link. We spent an hour or so searching for an ideal site to drill. An initial attempt to land the drill resulted in the drill toppling over onto the seafloor, the drill was righted and an alternate location was found.

As a marine geologist at the start of my career it was a very exciting moment to see the seafloor 2000m below us by a real time video link, to be able to see what I have been studying remotely was a great start to the day!

Unfortunately our excitement was short lived as after 55 minutes of drilling the drill bit became stuck and we had to retrieve the drill after only penetrating the seafloor by approximately 44cm. Once the core was on board we found it to be heavily degraded and fragmented mantle rock-not what we had hoped for condition wise but what we wanted from a geological perspective.

Workstations chart the progress of the rock drill

First sight of the seafloor!

Chris and the BGS drill team hard at work

Deploying the dredge

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February 2007