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Gravity Coring

09/08/2011, 8:35 PM by Lollie Garay
What is Laurie doing?<br/><br/>Credit: Courtesy of Laurie Chong
What is Laurie doing?
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Laurie Chong

Gravity Coring

 Dr. Will Berelson (USC) and his team are doing some interesting coring for the first time on the ANACONDAS project- it’s called “gravity coring”.  Doctoral candidate Laurie Chong (who was on the cruise last year with the team) explains the process:

 “We take a pipe just over 6m (20 ft) with weights on top and drive it into the sediments at high speed in order to get a longer core, and thus, a bigger 'slice' of time that is recorded in the sediments. “

 “Today at station 3, the coring team (myself and Nick Rollins assisted by Jason Landrum and David Sohm) were able to retrieve a gravity core that measured about 3.9m (13'ft 11") in length, which likely dates back about 43000 years. 

 “We are extracting water from this core, and then will cut it in half for transport back to our lab at USC, since it's a little too long to put in our cold van in one piece. :) I'm going to use the pore water we collect to characterize the geochemical processes involved in the breakdown of organic carbon in the sediments.  Once back at USC, we will split the core lengthwise (like a hot dog bun), and slice it into small sections for analysis to learn about the processes that have been occurring in this region over the last several thousand years that are recorded in the sediments. “

“We plan to continue doing a multicore and gravity core at each of the remaining coring stations.” 

Aside from working on pore water geochemical research in the Berelson Lab at USC, Laurie is also Program Coordinator for the USC Young Researchers Program. This 6-week summer program recruits students from Los Angeles area high schools (near USC) to work on a research project under the mentorship of a graduate student. At the end of the program, they present their work in the form of a poster.  The program is supplemented with weekly workshops covering topics like applying to college, financial aid, and presenting research. They also take fieldtrips to Catalina Island and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

 Laurie and another grad student founded the program three years ago, and “it's been getting better ever since.”  Check out their website at http://youngresearchers.usc.edu

 Lastly, you’ll notice a new map in the images- Plan B for the cruise track! Adjustments have been made :)


PS: Don't forget to click on the photo images for a larger view and captions!



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Question of the Day

  • Do the bacteria in the water make us sick?

    Only a few of them.  Bacteria are in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, hot springs, radioactive waste, water, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. Bacteria recycle nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as nitrogen fixation.