Pulling Up Core

South Atlantic Ocean
-33.724340000000, -15.996094000000
Journal Entry:

The JOIDES Resolution is a special ship. From high above the ocean floor, it can reach down through miles of ocean water and collect samples of rock or sediment (called cores) that tell us a lot about the Earth’s past. But how do we get these all-important cores?

To begin, we know what sites we want to visit based on a pre-expedition survey. This helps us make sure that we stay away from any oil or gas deposits that could endanger the ship. Once a drilling site is identified, the JOIDES Resolution crew can navigate the ship to that spot in the ocean using GPS coordinates and satellite data. Upon arrival, we "park" using dynamic thrusters. These act as big fans under the ship, fighting any waves or currents that may naturally be pushing us away from our targeted drilling spot. 

The ship's crew is in charge of assembling the drill pipe. They bring up pipe sections from the pipe storage rack and attach them to one another to get the overall tube length that is needed for the current ocean depth. Each pipe section is about 28 to 29 meters long (92 to 96 feet), so if we are hoping to drill 4,000 meters (approximately 13,000 feet) below sea level, then we have to make sure we build a drill pipe that is long enough to reach the ocean floor.