Thursday, June 09, 2011

Aboard the JR


Yesterday we toured the shipboard laboratories where the cores from the sea floor are exhaustively examined even as they come out of the hole. The labs would do a university proud. I am astonished at the amount of information that can be gleaned from what amounts to a column of muck -- muck that records the history of the planet.

The pic shows a core in its plastic sleeve. Click to enlarge.

Oh, and of course the ship can drill into hard rock too, the solid crust of the Earth beneath the sediments.

Microbiology, microphotography, radioactivity, magnetism, fossils, and, later, isotopic analysis -- here is the real Book of Genesis, the Earth telling its own story, a story that requires human ingenuity to recover and read.

The running story of paleoclimatology I have been telling is just one facet of the fundamental science the ship provides. Another chapter follows below.