6 August, 2001
This morning at around 11:00 am we expected to be at our first rock collection site. Due to heavy ice conditions, we made slower progress through the night than anticipated, so we didn't reach our goal. We now expect to reach the site at midnight. At that time, the first dredge will occur.
Dredging is the process that we will use to collect the rocks from the ocean floor over 3 miles down. A dredge is a large metal box that will scrape across the ocean floor. It is lowered down by a piece of equipment called a winch. When this process is happening, the ship stops. When the dredge reaches the floor, the ship then slowly moves to pull the dredge along. The ship then stops again and the winch is used to pull the dredge back up, hopefully full of rocks. The rocks are then removed from the dredge on the deck of the ship, brought into the labs, and cataloged. Then analysis begins.
The scientists on this mission are most excited to pull up the first dredge. Remember that these rocks are from the last unexplored, unstapled mid-ocean ridge on the planet. Their value to research is immeasurable!
I continue to go outside on the ship often and gaze at the scenery. It is hard to believe that I am so close to the North Pole. It is beautifully stark here. I have been surprised at the "warm" temperatures, and often go outside with a light jacket. I suspect that as we head into the fall months this will change, so I am trying to enjoy it while it lasts.
* Latitude: 85 40 N
*Longitude: 18 45 E
*Temperature: 32 F
*Water temperature: 25 F
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