Follow Dr. Katrina Edwards, as she explores the microbial life at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean


Remember picture day as a kid? When you or your parent(s) picked out an outfit suitable for that picture that would immortilize your face for that school year? Well, today was that day out here. For our group pictures anyhow. And we even picked out the outfits for everyone on the scientific party – our “Mainly Microbe” T-shirts! In the history of ocean drilling I do not think this has been done before. We looked awesome, of course. We took science and crew picture, science party pictures, and all the various subgroups within the scientific party such as the microbiologists, the petrologists, and etc. This was the highlight of my day – you can tell it is still slow around here.

We are having difficulty with drilling for setting in the 10 ¾ casing. Our drill bit stopped hard and refused to make hole progress so we had to trip the pipe out and are going to have a look at that drill bit to see if it failed prematurely . Normally they should last 50+ hours and we hadn’t reached that time yet. Bits can on occasion just fail, though, and the evidence we have suggests exactly that.

Meanwhile we had some success in another analysis we got hung up on earlier in the cruise. In addition to bringing out the new deep-biosphere probbing tool, DEBI-t, we brought out a tabletop version to scan cores that had been recovered as well. This did not work out too well – we had trouble with vibrations from the rocking ship and then problems with the stage on which the sample sits. Those problems were finally rectified and now we’ve got our first really cool image of the surfaces of one of the rocks covered in microbes – our first direct evidence from a subseafloor rock that there is indeed life down there! Not that we’re surprised, after all it is what we are here to do, but still….it is satisfying to get results and data.