By Thomas Ronge | ‘Furious Fifties’ and ‘Screaming Sixties’ – these are the infamous names of the ocean regions we crossed in our transit towards the Amundsen Sea. Despite our misgivings, the weather has been surprisingly good. Hence we had a smooth and uneventful journey to our working area.
On our way to Thurston Island we crossed the first ice field of our expedition during the night from Monday to Tuesday. However, “night” is not an adequate term for this time of a day. At about 04:00 am, the beautiful polar sun woke up my roommate and me.
Around noontime, we arrived at our first station. While our land geologists and geodesists left with one of our shipboard helicopters, we deployed our video-MUC to the seafloor. This system was used to retrieve surface sediments from a water depth of ~800 m. The video system provided us with a HD live-stream of the seafloor and will play an important role in finding suitable sites for the upcoming deployments of the MeBo drill rig.
An 8 m-long gravity core was deployed following the video-MUC. This device allows for a deeper penetration and sampling of the sediment, hence we can look back further in time. Just like the pages of history books, the youngest layers of the sediments are found on top, and the oldest at the bottom of a sediment core.
After this successful first geology station, we are now navigating through the ice field towards the first MeBo station.