October 28, 2019: It is all about teamwork
The routines onboard are now settled. Everyone has found their role and the good performance on deck is continuing. I appreciate all the help the team, researchers, students, and crew provide me to make this cruise a success. Shortening the Calypso Giant Piston corer to 17 m was a good decision. We cored one fault with seeping methane on the Yermak Plateau (10 m) and nicely stratified, fine-grained sequences northwest of Svalbard (~15 m), within the main pathway of northward flowing Atlantic water masses. We have now visited 9 stations and our cooling container is already halv full with new material.
Today, the Polar night is rather chilly and work on deck becomes a challenge. After 12 hours with intense coring and profiling, a long transect into the central Fram Strait awaits us. We will sail towards the Hovgaard Ridge, a microcontinent in the middle of the deep water passage between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic. Here, we will look for traces of fossil icebergs once floating through the strait and try to identify its age. Exciting stuff!
October 30, 2019: Arctic challenges on deck
An Arctic coring expedition in November is challenging for both ship, crew, and scientists. With the aim of coring 20 m and more, plenty of time is required on deck to prepare various types of equipment.
Preparing The Giant Piston corer is of course most time consuming. Not only the preparation to deploy, but also the cleaning of the pipes, cutting the liners, and labelling takes time and effort. Yesterday, the team worked many hours on deck at -13 degrees Celsius with a strong breeze from the North. While working hard during the day, the team can rest during most of the night while we are acquiring bathymetric (seafloor topographic) data. We are currently working in the vicinity of the East Greenland Current at 79 degrees North. The current transports cold, polar waters and sea ice southwards along the East Greenland coast. RV “Kronprins Haakon” was surrounded by sea ice the entire day and we had to “escape” several times to safely deploy our equipment.
Today is the last day in this hostile environment. We will sail back tonight towards a more “pleasant” Atlantic climate regime on Vestnesa Ridge. Another Piezometer waits to be picked up at 1200 m water depth.