11 Feb – East Scotia Ridge expedition blog – week 4

Megacorer being recovered in the short Southern Ocean night

Coring at night

We have videoed the many different areas of venting at the seafloor in the base of the Kemp Caldera and now are spending a cold, snowy night coring the mud from the seafloor. Our night shift work is to collect mud from around the areas of diffuse hydrothermal flow.

Darryl Green and Rachel Mills coring in the snow

We extract the fluids from the mud on board and analyse the chemical make-up, particularly the levels of hydrogen sulphide that are high enough to make the whole laboratory smell. The megacorer also collects the organisms from the seafloor; ophiuroids and small holothurians.

Darryl Green is a hydrothermal vent specialist with experience of sampling hot fluids all over the globe. Luckily he is also an old hand at sediment coring in difficult terrain. “The best thing about my job is that I get to see things on the seafloor that no-one has ever seen before” says Darryl. The nights are very short here at 59°S so dawn breaks by 3am.

For more details on our voyage and links for Schools see www.thesearethevoyages.net/jc55.