the good, the bad, and the ugly…

On the plus side, we’ve started coring. Unfortunately, things have not been going very smoothly. We’ve had two failed attempts at getting a 9m piston core. The substrate is harder than anticipated (it’s basically rock and not sediment) which is not good for this type of coring. The first time we didn’t get any core penetration, the second time we did, but then broke the barrel of the piston core, leaving about 4m of core barrel and a temperature sensor embedded in the seafloor (insert your favorite expletive here!). 

The bottom of the piston core was bent at about a 45 degree angle, so we could not just pull it up through the center of the drilling string. They had to pull the whole drill string and once it was at the ship, cut the bent part of the piston core away to get the drill string up to the rig deck (it has to go through a 5-6ft diameter hole). You can see clearly from the picture why they had to do this.  They used an oxy-acetylene torch to cut the bent part of the core barrel away. There is flame at both ends because the plastic core liner inside of the barrel caught fire in the process. It looks exciting, but from a science standpoint this is a real setback.  Latest report is that we will reset everything (we’ve got a spare piston core) and try again – hopefully there will be a core on deck by 8p  or so (about 6h from now).

...definitely not part of the plan!