An adventure on the JOIDES Resolution: One year later

Fig. 1 – (Top) One of the many magnificent sunrises observed by scientists on board the JR; (Bottom) View of the derrick, tower that holds the drill string, from the Bridge Deck, and (Top-left) all Expedition 360 participants. Images credits: William Crawford, Exp. 360 Senior Imaging Specialist; Jiansong Zhang, Exp. 360 Education/Outreach Officer.

Earlier this year Barbara wrote about ‘Life on board of a scientific drilling vessel’. That interview gave some hints in the unique experience my colleagues and I shared on board the Joides Resolution. Now, you might wonder what Joides Resolution (JR) exactly is. The JR is a drilling vessel dedicated to scientific research on ocean and ocean crust dynamics. Different disciplines are involved, from geology (to elucidate the formation of the oceanic crust), to climate change science (to understand how the Earth handled past climatic events), oceanography (to study global water circulation), or microbiology (to track extreme life in rocks forming the ocean floor).Cores of rocks are drilled under the ocean floor, giving scientists a glimpse into Earth’s dynamics. The JR works for the international research program IODP (International Ocean Discovery Program), a marine research collaboration that aims at recovering data recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks, and monitoring subseafloor environments. Continue reading

Up and down! What?

What happens when magnetic reversals occur? This is what I asked my professor during my first year at university when he mentioned the “reversals of the Earth’s magnetic field” and I remember that joking he answered: we will be “up and down”!

Figure 1: Cartoon of a man being up and down.

Well, this would be an interesting experience but instead of us, our compass needle is reversing! This may sound boring but there is a lot more around this phenomenon. No human on Earth has experienced a magnetic reversal as we are too young for that (the latest one occurred 780,000 years ago); however there is evidence that it happened many times in the Earth’s history. Its discovery has played a major role in the development of Earth Science. Continue reading