Dr. Claire McKinley is a Research Associate from the University of Washington. She is currently working and reporting on the research occurring along the Hikurangi subduction zone on board the US research vessel Revelle.
We have completed our research and made out way back to Port in Auckland, New Zealand. Everyone is proud of the work they have done and excited to get back on land.
We have taken 107 cores, completed 15 ROV Jason dives, collected 871 pore water samples, performed 16 heat flow deployments and celebrated 10 birthdays in the time we have been at sea.
It is amazing and wonderful to be a part of a group of strangers who come together to and work as a community to explore never before seen portions of the seafloor.
There is much more work to do once we get home to our labs, we split each of the 871 pore water samples into between eight and five sub-samples each for different chemical analyses, which means there are at least 4,500 pore water samples to analyze.
We are also bringing home an extensive amount of heat flow and mapping data that will have to be processed.
We also used ROV Jason to download the first year of data from the two observatories installed by the JOIDES Resolution last year.
The tme we have spent at sea will allow us to generate important research about the New Zealand margin and its earthquakes for several years.
In the process of writing about each of the techniques we use and describing the way the work, what we can learn from them and the technology involved I was struck by exactly how much human ingenuity has gone into what we know about the earth system, specifically earthquakes.
We have used cranes, an incredibly fancy underwater robot, an three meter long heat flow probe that can send a pulse of heat through the sediment, titanium squeezers to remove pore water from sediment, and those are just a handful of the tools that are available to answer the questions we have about how earthquakes near New Zealand work, and the hazards they pose.
As we packed up our lab supplies, we discussed the start of the cruise, moving into each space and trying to figure out where lab benches and supplies should go. We built our working space and have made the R/V Revelle our home.
Now, having restored everything to order, put the final touches on packing and storing our samples, taken a group photo and mopped the floors.
We are grateful to New Zealand for hosting us, and for folks at GNS and NIWA who have helped with logistical support and facilitated procurement of lab supplies. We are especially grateful for the Crew of the R/V Revelle who have kept us afloat, air conditioned and fed for the last five weeks.
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