JC010: Mud volcanoes and submarine canyons


Cruise diary

Day 13: Thursday 14 June 2007
Position: 39° 29.7126N, 9° 56.06203W
Weather: Clear skies with choppy seas, becoming overcast with some rain later. Moderate winds.

Helen writes:

"It’s felt like I’ve spent the last few days just waiting for things to happen; for the ROV to begin its descent, for the ROV to begin its ascent, or for a megacore or an elevator to reach the surface.

Today has been like the early days – packed with things to do. The ROV came up early this morning, once the weather had calmed down, allowing the whole day to be free for megacores, piston cores, and other experimental work.

Also, with the visit next Thursday of a number VIPs to the ship whilst it's in port in Lisbon, we wish to create a number of posters to display the findings and interesting images of this leg of the cruise. We (Abi, Sarah, Raquel & Me) have spent some time this afternoon looking through pictures, with Abi and Sarah editing pictures to improve the colour or to centre the images. The poster is coming on a real treat!

When the ROV came back on board this morning, she brought up some push cores and also some animals that had been sucked into a sample chamber. I spent some time with Abi removing a sample of each organism so that it could have its DNA profile recorded. We then preserved the rest of the organisms in formaldehyde (also called Formalin or acetaldehyde), so that they can be identified on return to Southampton. The identification process must be carried out carefully to ensure that the organisms are correctly identified. This identification process also allows it to be established whether any of the organisms are new species.

Above and below: Abi and Helen process some of the push cores....including some impromptu face painting...

I was given one of the push cores to bring back to Southampton with me, so having seen Abi and Raquel process one, they both helped me to remove mine from the outer shell and seal it before putting it into the freezer.

The piston core went down for the first time today; a 12metre core, it collects a huge sample of the seabed, which allows the sea floor to be dated; information can be gained going back thousands or even millions of years by tracing the fossils found.

A 21metre (!!!!!!) core has just been sent down, but won’t be back for 3 hours, by which time I’ll be asleep – lots of photos of handling the 12 metre core here for you though!

Setting the trigger device on the piston core

The core arriving on deck - Doug hoses the core off ready for cutting into manageable lengths

Cutting the core into workable lengths

Core blimey! The 21m coring tube being assembled

Abi and Raquel saw up and label a push core

Abi preserves some specimens in formaldeyde and labels them up - All containers must be carefully labelled with the scientist’s name, the cruise information and a record of what is within the tub

Left and above, far right: The items collected on the ROV yesterday that are to be preserved

Virginia writes:

"Scientific activities today mostly involved the deployment and recovery of two megacores with cores for Andy, Teresa, Silvia, Jeroen and Ursula. Two piston cores (one of 12 m length and another one of 21 m) were collected for Raquel and Professor Doug Masson. See the pictures above and below!"

Preparation and deployment of the megacorer

Controlling the location of the megacorer

The wait for cores to come back up to the surface

Recovery of the megacorer back onto the deck

Teresa, Silvia and Sybille removing water from the cores. They are using sieves to avoid losing particles suspended in the water

Teresa and Ursual extracting and cutting a core

The chefs (L-R Lloyd, Wally and Mark follow the progress of the megacorer from a safe distance!

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