Talks at Sea and Around the Clock Learning

Since we set sail, we have had presentations on an almost daily basis. Both the science and the cultural contents have been interesting and diverse. In the beginning, Emily, Debbie and Joe started with subjects relevant to the cruise, to put the goals of the expedition in perspective for the science party.

Debbie talked about the tectonic setting and structural geology of our study area. She put together the existing pieces of the puzzle and the parts that are missing and we hope to fill during the cruise.  Emily talked about mid-ocean ridge basalts and their geochemical signatures in different ocean basins, so we would understand the kinds of chemical analyses that would be done on the rocks we’d be collecting and what they would tell us in terms of magmatic processes. Joe discussed propagating rifts and detachment faults and their representation on a bathymetric map to train our eyes to recognize the features we’d see as we surveyed the area.

Emily gives a talk about mid-ocean ridge basalts and chemistry of magma at mid-ocean ridges.

As you might remember from previous posts, our relatively small, 11-person science party has members from six different countries and some of us have done field work in our home countries and the world (on, above and under the land surface and water). We talked about our background and the science we have been involved in. Photos of some of us are below.

Gaby talked about her research on gravity measurements in the Atlantic.


Iker points out to an ancient seawall close to his hometown on a map of  Spain.

Collecting and processing data and samples around the clock is essentially like being in a lab every day while you have “office hours” available to you at least 12 hours a day! A large amount of time is spent discussing the real-time findings of the cruise– what we can learn from them and how to use the information in planning the remaining days. Charlie and Gaby processed the magnetic data we have collected so far and compared our results with previous studies in the area.

Charlie gives an introduction to the Earth’s magnetic field, before he showed us the magnetic data from our cruise that he and Gaby processed.

Another great aspect of working around the clock with your peers is learning from them and expanding our scientific knowledge and skill sets. We all have learned a lot from working with each other (and from occasional disagreements on rock description details and how to sew burlap bags)!

Ben and Iker discussing the structures in a sample of lava.


Gaby and Charlie look at seamounts and compare the bathymetric image with the features on the map


Gaby shows Iker and Elya how to use the GMT (Generic Mapping Tools)

Also, as somewhat expected from Earth scientists, we have some avid travelers among us as well. It is inspiring to learn about different countries, hear travel stories and see photos of the geology and wildlife around the world. Dominik told us about his trip to Africa and Elya showed us her photographs of volcanoes and bears in Kamchatka.

Dominik shows a photo of a lion he took when on a safari trip in Tanzania.


Elya shared some of her favorite photos with us from Kamchatka.


Recognize this rock from the above photo?