Monday, 20 March 2017

Shrinking art

A post by Delphine Lobelle

We have passed the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and are half-way through the cruise (with just under 3 weeks left until April 8th!). After 3 full days of deploying and retrieving the deepest moorings and CTDs (measuring Conductivity, Temperature and Depth), we will steam towards the Bahamas. We will first see land on March 28th, stopping off for a few hours in Nassau where the IT technician must get off the ship to calibrate the gravity metre instrument for the next seismic cruise (JC146) and Yvonne will be substituted by Gerard for the western boundary leg. 

Yesterday afternoon, the CTD was deployed to the bottom of the Atlantic (over 5000 m) with not only all the Niskin bottles, MicroCATs and acoustic releases attached but also socks and t-shirts transporting our artwork! This tradition includes drawing on a polystyrene cup, waiting 5 hours for it to descend through the full depth of the water column and then resurface. The increase in pressure with depth compresses the polystyrene to a shrunken version of its former self. We did a quick check and 13 mini-cups of water fit into 1 pre-compressed cup (i.e. it holds 1/13th of its original volume!). 
The artwork is secured to the CTD before deployment

Deployment of the CTD
There are many ways to stay entertained during our free time onboard, with a range of board games (including a chess tournament we started), card games, poker night, hundreds of DVDs available, going to the gym and sauna or jumping in the aft-deck ‘pool’ (a large bucket of water 1 person can just about squeeze into), but the cup-decorating revealed some truly gifted artist-scientists and technicians on board. I’ve tried to disguise my cups among those Darren brought from his children’s classmates since my skills don’t surpass those of a 10-year old’s… I’ll leave you to try to spot them in the photo!

Shrunken art work - and one that has yet to be compressed.

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