By Michaela Meier |
Everyone knows that I get sea sick, and I hate sea sickness. So, why am I here and what am I doing?
I study earthquakes below the oceans off Africa, India, and in the Arctic. My teacher and mentor Vera Schlindwein at the AWI asked me about 6 months ago to drop 4 instruments into the Arctic Ocean. The sensors will measure how the ground moves up and down as well as sideways.
On our third day at sea, it was my turn. The waves were still high and it was difficult to work on deck because the ship was still moving a lot. R/V Polarstern danced in the waves. And into these rough waters I had to deploy my instruments. These ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) are similar to seismometers used on land to detect earthquakes. I attached a flag to each before a crane lifted them into the water. In a few weeks from now, another German research vessel will hopefully pick them up and the flags will help to find them in the waves. Lars from the AWI media department filmed me during deployment.
Throughout this deployment I was nervous and anxious, because it was the first time I did this job. All went well, however, because the nice guys from the deck crew and the chief mate helped me and all four seismometers are at their intended positions. As Polarstern sailed from station to station for me, she was travelling into different directions towards the waves. As a consequence, everyone on the ship suffered when Polarstern was not „surfing“ the waves, as it did most of the day, but takes on large waves that hit us from the side. For many this was not a good experience – including me. We were all sea sick.
During the next four weeks I will help Maria and the geology group to measure the seafloor topography. The extensive work on that will start during the next days, when we operate the system 24 hours per day. We will split into watches, so that somebody always keeps an eye on the system.
But nevertheless I accomplished my first mission today. After we dropped the last instrument, Polarstern continued her northward course. We left storm and waves behind with both wind and waves decreasing. As a result, I no longer feel sea sick and hope it will stay that way.
Michaela Meier, University of Bremen/AWI