View 2: first petrophysics blog from the ship
IODP Expedition 381, the latest Mission-Specific Platform proposal to be initialised, represents the next location on ECORDs sea-bed exploration map. Located in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece, it is the site of at least three carefully placed boreholes designed to resolve some of the biggest questions science currently has about newly forming continental rifts. Continental rifts, the most famous of which in the geological world is probably the East African Rift, are one result when continental plates decide to split and diverge from one another. Unlike the East African Rift, the one here in Corinth is only ~5 million years old (a geological baby), but it is already deep enough to be filling with water.
Actually I should mention as an aside at this point, there are all sorts of IODP expeditions planned for the future in just about every sub-theme of marine and seafloor research you can imagine and all IODP proposals are available to explore. Or if you would like you can submit your own. Just an idea.
Photo: first view of the morning on the night shift (credit L Phillpot)
Photo: sunrise on first morning at sea on transit from Malta to Corinth (credit L Phillpot)
This view was not a bad introduction to the Mediterranean in fall. However, for those of you with keen eyes, a plastic bottle can be seen in the bottom left bobbing past us as we travel through the middle of the Mediterranean. A sad reminder of the impacts of plastic waste and disposal throughout the world’s oceans.
As for other sights, I get some cracking views of the Fugro Synergy with its derrick all lit-up at night, and probably the calmest views of “Main Street” that I will get for the next 2 months. “Main Street” is the name that we give to the walkway between the entrances of the ECORD containerised labs and offices. All the offshore science happens on “Main Street” from sampling and curation to geochemistry, petrophysics, microscopy and initial analysis. When we are in full swing and the core recovery rate is high, it will be a bustling hive of activity.
Photo: view of "Main Street" (credit L Phillpot)
At the time of writing the vessel is now in Greek waters and about to make its port-call in Corinth to collect all those scientists who will be sailing with us for the next two months as we explore early continental rift processes in ways that they have never been explored before.