Nov. 23: Alvin dive 4998

After yesterdays last-minute recovery of the osmosamplers, the refitted units are ready to go down again on the elevator for deployment in the Aceto Balsamico area. Here the Alvin team and Andrew Montgomery of UGA put the finishing touches on  the elevator before it goes overboard and sinks to a (so we hope) predetermined spot where it can be easily found.


Soon enough, the dive team steps forward. Danik Forsman is piloting the sub, science observers Rick Peterson of Coastal Carolina University and Rachel Kearns from Mandy’s lab keep him company. In contrast to yesterday’s not overly optimistic dive team, they exude confidence and a sense for adventure! This is handy, especially since the wind is picking up…


Down in Guaymas Basin begins the reverse Osmosampler battle. The elevator has landed 300 meters off, has to be ferried to the Aceto balsamico site, and then finding the right spots for the osmosamplers is also not easy. A closer look at the site reveals an old dive marker [a.k.a. “science junk”], and the ultimate token of civilization: plastic trash on the seafloor, mostly old shopping bags. A community cleanup day in Guaymas Basin would be a nice idea…


The osmosamplers are deployed in various extraterrestrial microbial mat landscapes, and a huge coring program is concluded at breakneck speed before Alvin runs out of battery juice and has to return.


After the novice diver reception committee has staged an elaborate welcome for Rachael,  the cores are carried from the Alvin basket into the lab…Nov23CoresLiftingSmall

After core description in the cold room and core allocation, the Texas/Montana team is finally looking at “their” core. This column of stinky, smelly, and quite possibly poisonous mud, populated by innumerable microbes, is now your friend. Brett contemplates its murky presence and has mixed feelings. This will be a busy night!



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