Chikyu Report
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Short update from onboard ChikyuApril 13, 2012

Chikyu has been on site of our proposed boreholes for a few days now, but we haven’t yet begun drilling because various pieces of gear are playing up ? I don’t think this is atypical on drilling operations and am happy to bide my time and hope it all works out and we begin to core soon.

In the meantime, through variable weather, I’ve been learning my way around the ship, and learning about ship-board life.

The sun is reflected off a calmer ocean than today! Notice the slight curve in the horizon?
Photo by Nobu Eguchi.

One thing that keeps striking me is the apparent endlessness of the ocean we are sitting upon. I’ve been really enjoying standing on deck observing it. Every time I go up there, the sea state seems to have changed. Today it is particularly ‘interesting’ since there are two major conflicting sets of waves that are interacting. One large set coming from the east appear as ridges stretching across the whole ocean. A second set are less continuous, but when they intersect the large set in the right way, they form breaking waves and foaming masses of white water. When these hit the ship, we feel massive shudders, much like earthquake shaking. This just seems really odd in light of the two very large (Mw 8.2 and 8.6) strike slip earthquakes felt off Sumatra last night. Jim Mori (Co-chief scientist of this expedition) just gave an interesting presentation on those earthquakes, and we discussed whether similar events could be felt in this region some time after the mega-thrust earthquake.

There have been so many great scientific discussions onboard over the last few days, about a wide variety of research the Science Party members are presently engaged in that is relevant to understanding this particular subduction thrust fault. I think we are all intellectually primed and really ready to start coring as soon as we can!

Christie Rowe (Canada) and Monica Wolfson (USA) try to illustrate the extent of the endless ocean from the relative safety of the helicopter deck.

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