Another long day of coring… Still, J.P. found some time to show us what he does with the sediment samples he collects.
“Once we bring the multi-corer up, we remove the corers and let them settle for a bit. Then, using a tape measure, we measure the amount of water and the amount of sediment, and take a sample of the water. Next, we place the tube on a device that pushes the sediment up, forcing the water out of the top of the tube. After that, we scoop and scrape the top inch or so (which is the part we’re most interested in for this expedition) into a jar, which we label and seal to be shipped to a lab onshore. Then, we rinse the tubes out, put them back on the frame and we’re ready to go again.”
When the cores come up, you can see a few inches of brown, runny mud on top, and gray stuff on bottom. The gray stuff, it turns out, is actually clay. J.P. took a few samples of this clay to use for his own research. He uses techniques such as radiocarbon dating to study properties of these deep-sea sediments.
Some of us, on the other hand, think this clay is kind of fun to play with. It’s not every day that you see clay from 2,000 meters beneath the sea.