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IODP Expedition 329

South Pacific Gyre Microbiology

Daily Science Report for 31 October 2010

LOCATION: Underway to Site U1367 (Scientific Prospectus Site SPG-4A)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Coring operations at Site U1366 ended after Cores U1366E-1H (4.71 m) and U1366F-1H through 4H were recovered. Only one core was taken from Hole U1366E because the core liner was shattered upon recovery compromising the sediment quality for microbiological analyses. The cored interval in Hole U1366F was 30.1 m with 100% recovery. Core U1366F-4H recovered the sediment-basement interface. All cores from Holes U1366B and U1366C were taken to the Cold Laboratory for oxygen measurements immediately after Catwalk processing and later brought back up to the Core Laboratory for routine core flow processing. They all have been measured for physical properties using the WRMST and NGR; split into working and archive halves, imaged, measured for sediment color reflectance, point susceptibility and described by the sedimentologists. Cores from Holes U1366D and U1366F were brought down to the Cold Laboratory on the Hold deck immediately after Catwalk processing, and then were sampled in high resolution for geochemical and microbiological analyses. Review of the draft versions of Site U1365 reports is ongoing.


Daily Science Report for 30 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1366 (SPG-2A, 26°3.096'S, 156°53.658'W, water depth: ~5138 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: The JOIDES Resolution started coring operations at Site U1366, the second primary site of the expedition. The primary scientific objective at this site is to determine the nature of subseafloor sedimentary communities in the most organic-poor sediment of the world ocean.
A pilot hole, Hole U1366A, was drilled without coring to confirm basement depth and to determine the location of possible chert horizons that may slow down core recovery. Once basement depth was confirmed, Hole U1366B was cored to 17.2 mbsf recovering 17.31 m of sediment (101%). The hole was terminated before reaching target depth because of poor core quality, probably caused by the recovery of baseball size manganese nodules at the top and bottom of Core U1366B-1H. Hole U1366C penetrated to 25 mbsf, recovering 25.4 m of sediment in Cores U1366C-1H to 4H (102% recovery). Hole U1366D penetrated to 20.9 mbsf, recovering 18.86 m of sediment in Cores U1366C-1H and 2H, but nothing in Cores U1366C-3H and 4X. Although the XCB coring system was deployed for the last core, which helped advance 2 m into the formation, no material was recovered. Overall recovery for Hole U1366D was 90%. By midnight, the plan was to move the vessel 20 m away from Hole U1366D and start coring operations at Hole U1366E. Large manganese nodules were recovered at the top of every hole.
Cores from Holes U1366B and U1366C were taken immediately after Catwalk processing to the Cold Room adjacent to the Microbiology Laboratory for oxygen measurements. Cores from Hole U1366D were lowered immediately to the Hold deck core reefer where they were processed and sampled for geochemical analyses. Expedition scientists also are finalizing the draft versions of Site U1365 reports.


Daily Science Report for 29 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1366 (SPG-2A, 26°3.096'S, 156°53.658'W, water depth: ~5138 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Transit to Site U1366 (Scientific Prospectus Site SPG-2A) was completed at 20:00 hrs local time. Expedition scientists are finalizing geochemical, microbiological and petrological analyses and preparing the draft versions of Site U1365 reports.


Daily Science Report for 28 October 2010

LOCATION: Underway to Site U1366 (Scientific Prospectus Site SPG-2A). Midnight Position: 25°0.7'S, 161°0.4'W

SCIENCE UPDATE: Expedition scientists continue to produce and analyze data, and held a midnight meeting to present the scientific results from Site U1365. After the science meeting, one of the co-chief scientists presented the scientific objectives and operations plan for the next site, U1366 (Scientific Prospectus Site SPG-2A). In the laboratories, Cores U1365E-10R through 12R were measured for physical properties on the WRMST and the last core is being measured for natural gamma radiation in the NGR. Cores U1365E-8R and 9R have been split and the pieces curated. Petrologists continued to describe the basaltic rocks. Core U1365E-7R consists of highly phyric basalt with large phenocrysts. Microbiologists kept on counting microbial cells on Site U1365 samples using flow cytometer and fluorescence microscopy. Results are consistent between the two techniques and show significantly lower cell numbers than those found in organic-rich continental margin sediments previously studied.


Daily Science Report for 27 October 2010

LOCATION: Underway to Site U1366 (Scientific Prospectus Site SPG-2A)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Coring operations at Site U1365 ended after recovering RCB Core U1365E-12R (advancement: 119.7 to 124 mbsf) with 4.3 m of basaltic rocks (95% recovery). Total basement recovery for Hole U1365E is 39.66 m (89.1%). Cores U1365E-8R and 9R have been measured for physical properties on the WRMST and NGR. Cores U1365E-5R to 7R have been split, curated, imaged and described. They consist of predominantly microcrystalline to cryptocrystalline basalt representing various lava flows separated by alteration bands. Black calcite was found on top of a flow. Expedition scientists continue to analyze and fix samples for chemical, microbiological, petrological and paleomagnetic studies; as well as to prepare for the Site U1365 meeting scheduled for 28 October at midnight.


Daily Science Report for 26 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: RCB Cores U1365E-8R to 11R advanced from 105 to 119.7 mbsf and recovered 14 m of basaltic rocks (113% recovery). The cores were processed on the catwalk and immediately placed in cold storage, where they were examined by the microbiologists and preliminary described by a petrologist. Basalt samples for microbiological studies were identified and aseptically taken. Examined cores then were brought up to the Core Laboratory for routine core flow processing and description. Cores U1365E-2R to 7R have been measured for physical properties on the whole-round loggers. Cores U1365E-2R to 4R have been split, imaged and described. Basaltic rocks in the upper three cores are light to dark gray to light yellowish brown, and consist of fresh to highly altered aphyric microcrystalline basalts, plagioclase and olivine phyric basalts, with carbonate and celadonite veins and reddish brown alteration halos. Chert layers are occasionally present.
Expedition scientists continue analyzing and fixing samples for chemical, microbiological, petrological and paleomagnetic studies. Scientists also continue processing and discussing their results in preparation for the site meeting and the site report.


Daily Science Report for 25 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Rotary coring of Hole U1365E has advanced slowly (<1m per hour) but with excellent recovery. Cores U1365E-4R to 7R penetrated from 85.5 to 105 mbsf and recovered 16.25 m of beautiful basaltic rocks (83.5% recovery). The cores were processed on the catwalk and immediately taken to the core reefer on the hold deck for cold storage and inspection by the microbiologists and petrologists. Basalt samples for microbiological studies were selected from discrete intervals, and then taken aseptically by the microbiologists after approval by the sample allocation committee and a full preliminary description of the whole round core sections by a petrologist. Sampled cores then were brought up to the Core Laboratory for routine core flow processing and description.
Expedition scientists continue analyzing and fixing samples from Site U1365 for chemical, microbiological, petrological and paleomagnetic studies. Scientists also continue to process and discuss their results in preparation for the site meeting and the site report.


Daily Science Report for 24 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Hole U1365E was drilled ahead to 71 mbsf. The center bit was retrieved and the hole was cored using rotary coring (RCB). Cores U1365E-2R and 3R recovered 0.86 m (9% recovery) and 4.7 m (91% recovery) of basalt, respectively. The cores were processed and cut into 1.5 m sections on the catwalk and immediately taken to the core reefer on the hold deck for cold storage. Scientists interested in sampling the basaltic rocks discussed their research plans and are working on a sampling strategy.
Expedition scientists continued analyzing samples from Holes U1365A and B for interstitial water chemistry and solid phase geochemistry, and preparing, fixing and analyzing samples from Holes U1365C and D for microbial cell enumeration, cultivation, and shore-based molecular analyses such as fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH). All sediment core sections from Site U1365 have been measured for physical properties and visually described. Scientists started to analyze, compare and discuss their results in preparation for the site meeting.


Daily Science Report for 23 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: The drill line was adjusted to the new 10 sheave hosting system and successfully tested with the crownomatic safety device. Drilling operations resumed and Hole U1365E was spudded at 22:10 hrs. By midnight, we had drilled 51 mbsf. We continue to drill to our target depth of 5 m above basement where we will start coring using the rotary core barrel coring (RCB) system.
In the ship's laboratories, geochemists continue to analyze samples from Hole U1365B for interstitial water chemistry and solid phase geochemistry, while microbiologists continue to prepare and analyze samples from Holes U1365C and D for cell enumeration, cultivation and shore-based molecular analyses. In the Core Laboratory, unsampled wholeround core pieces from Holes U1365C and D are being measured for natural gamma, density, magnetic susceptibility, thermal conductivity, and P-wave velocity using the petrophysics track systems. All archive core sections from Hole U1365B have been imaged, measured for color reflectance and visually described. Sediments are light to dark brown pelagic clays with zeolitic intervals, with occasional porcelanite layers in the upper part of the section, interbedded chert gravel and brownish clay intervals in the middle and lower part, and dark brownish clay above the basement. The bottom of the cored section is inferred to be of Cretaceous age according to results from DSDP Site 596.


Daily Science Report for 22 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Drilling operations were halted when tripping down to spud Hole U1365E because one of the drill line sheaves had a bearing failure. The ship's crew began evaluating the situation immediately, contacted the ship's drilling contractor corporate office for advice and started to work on a solution, which consisted of re-stringing the drill line through 10 of the 12 sheaves used for drilling. The situation also was communicated to IODP-USIO headquarters at Texas A&M University. The ship's contractor gave the green light to continue drilling/coring operations once the crew manages to successfully finish the restringing work. Repairs to the drilling rig continued throughout the day. The plan is to continue drilling and coring operations as stated in the scientific prospectus once repairs are completed.
In the shipboard laboratories, microbiologists continued to aseptically sample cores from Holes U1365C and D for microbiological studies, and the samples taken were prepared for cell enumeration, cultivation and shore-based molecular analyses. Geochemists continued analyzing IW and sediment samples from Hole U1365B. Whole-round pieces from Cores U1365B-3H to 5H have been imaged, measured for color reflectance, magnetic susceptibility, and described. Sediments are brown zeolitic pelagic clays with intervals of metalliferous pelagic clays, and occasional soft porcelanite layers. Whole-round core section pieces from Hole U1365B are being measured for natural gamma, density, magnetic susceptibility, thermal conductivity, and P-wave velocity using the ship's laboratory track systems. All cores from Hole U1365A have been measured in the ship's cryogenic magnetometer.


Daily Science Report for 21 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Hole U1365D (20 m east from Hole U1365C) was cored to 19 mbsf and Cores 1H and 2H were recovered (99% recovery), providing additional material for filling the gap encountered in Core U1365C-2H for microbiological sampling. Hole U1365D was ended when the drill bit cleared the rotary table at 20:30 hrs. Cores from Hole U1365C and U1365D are being sampled aseptically in the hold deck Cold Laboratory for shipboard and shore-based microbiological experiments. Sediment samples are being measured for interstitial water chemistry (dissolved inorganic carbon, alkalinity, oxygen concentration, nitrate, etc), while microbiologists are preparing samples for cell enumeration, cultivation and shore-based molecular analyses. All cores from Hole U1365A have been imaged, measured for color reflectance and point susceptibility, and described. Sediments consist of predominantly brown zeolitic pelagic clays with intervals of metalliferous pelagic clays, and gravel size chert layers interbedded with very dark brown pelagic clay and occasional ash layers toward the bottom of the sequence. Whole-round core section pieces from Hole U1365B are being measured for natural gamma, density, magnetic susceptibility, thermal conductivity, and P-wave velocity using the ship's laboratory track systems.


Daily Science Report for 20 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: We finished APC coring Holes U1365B (Cores 1H-9H) and U1365C (Cores 1H-9H). In Hole U1365B we cored 54.6 m and recovered 55.79 m of sediment (102% recovery). In Hole U1365C, we cored 48.8 m and recovered 39.67 m sediment (81% recovery). Drilling without coring was required in both holes to penetrate the chert horizon and continue coring the underlying sediment. The drilled intervals at each hole were 21 m for Hole U1365B and 26 m for Hole U1365C. Basement was reached in both holes at 75.6 and 74.8 m CSF-A, respectively, recovering the sediment/basalt interface. The Bruhnes/Matuyama boundary and the Olduvai Subchron were identified in Core U1365A-1H. Cores from Hole U1365B were sampled thoroughly in the Hold deck's Cold Laboratory and samples are being processed for IW chemistry and solid phase geochemistry. Cores from Hole U1365C are being sampled in the Cold Laboratory for microbiological experiments, including shipboard microbial cell counting and inoculations. Cores U1365A-3H and 5H have been sampled for post-expedition shore-based research.


Daily Science Report for 19 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Hole U1365A was ended after reaching basement at 75.5 mbsf and recovering APC Cores U1365A-22H through 26H (recovery: 29%). Sediment consisted predominantly of gravel and pebble size chert fragments, and basalt fragments at the bottom of the hole. The vessel was moved 20 m north and Hole U1365B was initiated. By the end of the day shift, APC Cores U1365B-1H through 5H had been pulled out of the seafloor recovering 43.2 m of sediment (recovery 103%). An additional APC core (U1365B-6H) was shot above the anticipated chert layer but recovered less than 50 cm of the sedimentary material. Cores from Hole U1365B are being sampled in the Hold deck's Cold Laboratory at very high resolution for a wide range of chemical analyses including interstitial water and solid phase geochemistry and PFT measurements. Cores U1365A-1H and 2H have been sampled for post-expedition shore-based research.


Daily Science Report for 18 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: APC Cores U1365A-10H through 21H penetrated from 47.71 to 62.3 m into the sea floor. Recovery was only 12.4% and consisted of mostly gravel to pebble size chert fragments. The plan is to continue APC coring until we reach basement to assure recovery of the clay layer that underlies the chert horizon (based on results from Leg 91, Site 596). All cores have been measured for oxygen concentration immediately after recovery. Core U1365-1H through 20H have been measured for natural gamma, density, magnetic susceptibility, thermal conductivity, and P-wave velocity using the ship's laboratory track systems. Cores U1365A-1H and 2H have been split, and their archive halves imaged, measured for color reflectance and described. Core U1365A-1H is being measured in the cryogenic magnetometer. The sediment composition is primarily brownish zeolitic metalliferous pelagic clay. Other science activities included review and editing of the Methods section of the expedition reports.


Daily Science Report for 17 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Hole U1365A was spudded at 05:30 hrs on Sunday 17 October establishing a water depth of 5706.3 mbrf (5695.6 mbsf). Cores U1365A-1H through 9H recovered with the Advanced Piston Coring System (APC) penetrated 47.71 m into the sea floor and recovered 47.7 m of reddish brown to dark brown clays with gravel to pebble size chert fragments in the lowermost four cores. All core sections are being measured for oxygen concentration in the Cold Laboratory using the electrode and optode systems immediately after recovery. APC coring through the chert layer has been slow, but it is expected to find a clay interval within a few meters based on DSDP Site 596 results and an exploratory wash hole drilled on site. Expedition scientists continued writing the Methods section of the expedition reports.


Daily Science Report for 16 October 2010

LOCATION: Site U1365 (SPG-1A, 23°51.048'S, 165°38.652'W, water depth: 5695.6 m)

SCIENCE UPDATE: The JOIDES Resolution arrived to the first site of the expedition at midnight on Friday October 15th and switched to dynamic positioning mode at 00:30 hrs on October 16th. Less than an hour after a scenic sunrise, the expedition management team (Chief Scientists, Expedition Project Manager, Operations Superintendent, Logging Staff Scientist and Laboratory Officer) met with the ship's Captain, the Tool Pusher, the Electrical Supervisor, the Offshore Installation Manager and the Schlumberger Engineer to discuss on-site operations. Geochemists continued setting up and testing third party instruments (i.e., electrode and optode systems, ion chromatographs, and alkalinity titrator) and preparing the lab. Expedition scientists received training on using the sampling application (SampleMaster) and scientists working in the core laboratory were explained core flow steps and sampling table procedures. Every science group continued working out their sampling protocols and templates and preparing the Methods section of the expedition reports. An oceanic white-tip shark greeted the ship and its crew on the first day on site of the expedition.


Daily Science Report for 15 October 2010

LOCATION: 23°39.02'S, 165°6.85'W, in transit to Site U1365 (SPG-1A)

SCIENCE UPDATE: A pre-site meeting was held to present the scientific objectives, the coring operations and core flow strategy for Site U1365 (SPG-1A). Expedition scientists continued laboratory preparations, preparing their sampling strategies and the Methods section of the expedition reports. The Sample Allocation Committee continued reviewing and discussing sample requests and fostering research collaborations among shipboard and shore-based scientists.


Daily Science Report for 14 October 2010

LOCATION: 21°55.81'S, 160°39.55'W, in transit to Site U1365 (SPG-1A)

SCIENCE UPDATE: Expedition 329 scientists continued their laboratory training and preparations as the JOIDES Resolution passed Rarotonga in the southern Cook Islands. Microbiologists continued setting up the flow cytometer, hydrogen analyzer and a cell filtration unit in the Paleo-preparation Lab, a pair of nitrogen dispensers for flushing artificial media in the Microbiology Lab, and equipped the core reefer as a secondary Cold Laboratory by setting up whole-round core cutting and sampling tables and tools, an anaerobic glovebox and temporal core sections' storage racks. In addition they continued preparing culture media, sterilizing packing materials and preparing their sampling strategy. Core describers continued their training on the use of DescLogik, the core description application, and core loggers continued learning the track systems in the Core Laboratory. Likewise, geochemists continued lab preparations and working out a sampling plan for solid phase and interstitial water samples. Members of the science party received tours of the ship by the Operations Superintendent and the Sample Allocation Committee spent most of the evening reviewing and approving sample requests and fostering research collaborations.


Daily Science Report for 13 October 2010

LOCATION: Underway to Site U1365 (SPG-1A). Present location 19°53.20'S, 156°04'W

SCIENCE UPDATE: Expedition 329 scientists continued their laboratory training and preparations. They received a presentation on the downhole logging plan by the Logging Staff Scientist and a presentation on expedition reports and publications, and scientists' obligations from the EPM. The Co-Chief Scientists presented the expedition science objectives to the USIO technical staff and Transocean personnel. Microbiologists and geochemists continued discussing their research plans and sample requests and developing their sampling plans. The sample allocation committee met to discuss and review the scientists' sample requests. Co-Chiefs, EPM, LSS, Schlumberger engineer and Transocean drilling crew met to discuss coring, drilling and logging operations at Site SPG-1A.


Daily Science Report for 12 October 2010

LOCATION: 18°18.42'S, 151°33.17'W

SCIENCE UPDATE: The JOIDES Resolution left Papeete in the morning after the Expedition 329 Scientists and new USIO staff received the Ship's orientation and HSE training presentation by the Captain and the ship's doctor. A fire and lifeboat drill was conducted in the early afternoon. Expedition participants learned the location of the muster stations. The team of sedimentologists and petrologists received training on the descriptive data capture application by the Core Laboratory support staff, while geochemists and microbiologists continued with preparations of their laboratories. A presentation of sample and depth concepts was provided by USIO staff to all scientific participants.


Daily Science Report for 11 October 2010

LOCATION: EPI North Pier, Papeete, Tahiti

SCIENCE UPDATE: Expedition 329 scientists and technical staff were introduced to each other. Scientists received several introductory presentations and ship tours by the Expedition Project Manager and Laboratory Support Staff. Chief Scientists presented the scientific objectives of the expedition and the Operations Superintendent the coring and drilling operations plan. Later in the afternoon, expedition scientists broke into laboratory groups to discuss research plans and sample requests.


Daily Science Report for 10 October 2010

LOCATION: EPI North Pier, Papeete, Tahiti

SCIENCE UPDATE: Scientific participants moved onto the ship. Scientists and USIO staff continued unpacking supplies and instrumentation and setting up the labs for the expedition.


Daily Science Report for 9 October 2010

LOCATION: EPI North Pier, Papeete, Tahiti

SCIENCE UPDATE: The first day of the South Pacific Gyre Expedition portcall consisted of the USIO crew change and cross-over. The Co-chief Scientists and some members of the scientific party moved onboard. Lab tours were conducted for the arriving scientists who later started preparing the ship's laboratories, unpacking third party instruments and supplies, and setting up their complementary instrumentation for the specialized geochemical and microbiological analyses that will be carried out during the expedition.


Daily Science Report for 8 October 2010

LOCATION: EPI North Pier, Papeete, Tahiti

SCIENCE UPDATE: Vessel moved from fuel dock to EPI North Pier. DOE van installation in progress.


Daily Science Report for 7 October 2010

LOCATION: Fuel Dock, Papeete, Tahiti

SCIENCE UPDATE: Completed immigration activites. Vessel was refueled with 2069 metric tons.




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