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8 August, 2001

August 8, 2001

Rocks At Last

When I went to the lab this morning, I was welcomed by Gakkel Ridge rocks. The second dredge was attempted last night and was a success. Not only that, but the third dredge was being pulled onto the deck.

Getting the rocks from the ocean floor to the deck of the ship is only one small part. Next we rinse them on the deck, place them into buckets, and bring then inside. Then we rinse and scrub each rock individually, place them on tables, and sort them by size. Our job is nowhere near being finished. We must cut samples, classify them by type, label, and catalog each rock. Only then can the analysis begin. This process has not yet begun on the rocks because we are still in the sorting by size stage on our first successful dredge.

Besides rocks, other surprises can be brought up in the dredge. In one dredge, we found sponges. These Arctic sponges have a glassy skeleton and can grow tall ( 18 inches or so) and tube-like. They filter feed on small parcticles in the cold water. We also found an animal called an amphipod. It is related to a shrimp and looks somewhat like one. What was amazing about the one found was its length, because most amphipods are only about 2 millimeters (hardly large enough to see). The biologist on our expedition, Linda, was thrilled. Who knows what else we may find!

Our plan for the next 7 weeks includes traveling along Gakkel Ridge. We are currently heading west along it, but we plan to turn around and backtrack to where we intercepted it. Then we will continue eastward on it. All along the way we will be mapping the ridge, dredging, and doing wax coring. We will also be monitoring for hydrothermal vents and on the lookout for living organisms. A lot to keep us busy!

Statistics:

*Latitude: 84 60 N

*Longitude: 6 21 E

*Air temperature: 31 F

*Water temperature: 28 F


Here 2 scientists, Jeff and Joel, sort rocks by size <>


Kevin is using the rock saw to cut each rock in half. The outside of a rock is generally weathered, so the inside give you a better area to study. <>


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