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Tangaroa Blog #9 Mud, mud, mud & more mud

5 months ago by Kate Boersen


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I’m going to be honest here and say I think the geologists have more fun. I mean geologists get to play with mud!

Coring is all about mud, or more precisely (for those helping with the processing of the cores), bagging mud and making mud cakes. I’m not even kidding about the mud cakes. I’ve made a few.

These ‘mud cakes’, or slices of core, are placed into tinfoil lined containers, labelled and then thrown in the freezer along with the zillions of 1cm, 2cm or 5cm slices of mud that we have bagged.

How the cores are sliced depends on what sorts of tests or analyses will be run on them back in the lab on land. These analyses will focus on determining the age of sediment, its structure and what organisms (if any) live in the sediment.

It’s a messy job, but not many people can say they’ve touched the seafloor at depths of 3,000m.

We completed four sites today from Hawke’s Bay down to Wairarapa without the weather interfering. For most of the day it was just white caps with the wind behind us, which made for pretty smooth going.

It wasn’t until later than evening that the weather I’d be worried about all day actually did what the forecasters predicted. At the worst we had 40-knot winds.

This makes it difficult to walk in a straight line and if there is someone else in the hallway it’s a matter of not bumping into each other. You definitely need two hands walking down the stairs.

Going to bed was like sleeping on a seesaw but the rocking motion also means sleeping like a baby.

Note: There have been accusations by the geophysicists that the geologists have been tasting the mud…