Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DFDP-2 @ 760 m, rock cuttings team

Rupert Sutherland, GNS Science and Victoria University of Wellington
John Townend, Victoria University of Wellington
Virginia Toy, University of Otago

Naoki Kato (Japan) cleans rock cuttings, Mike Allen (UK) makes microscope thin-section slides, Carolyn Boulton (UK) analyses dried rock cuttings under a microscope, and Tim Little (NZ) records analysis. 28/11/14.  Photo J. Townend.

The sun is out and drilling is going smoothly. We passed 760 m before lunch. The drillers are happy.

Tony Kingan, Head Driller, looking happy with progress. Photo R. Sutherland

The rock cuttings team tell us what the rock is that we are drilling through, and how far we are from the fault. We’re getting closer, but we are not quite there yet. The plan is to start coring 100 m from the fault or at a depth of 1000 m, whichever comes first.

The rock cuttings team collects, cleans, dries, sorts, describes, counts, glues, and grinds the cuttings, analyses them under a microscope and then enters the data into a computer. Everyone has had to work hard in shifts over the last few days to keep up with drilling, but it is more interesting than waiting for equipment problems to get solved. This video shows what's involved:

Many of the team have now been here for more than two months — and some of us have been here most of the time since August! It is becoming clear that we will be here well into January, but only after a brief and well-earned Christmas break.
Rewi Newnham (left) talks to Rupert Sutherland about the DFDP-2 drilling project.  Photo J. Townend.
Lisa Craw and Alan Cooper are given a site induction by Alex Pyne.  Photo J. Townend.

Primary funders of the DFDP-2 project are: the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand, GNS Science, Victoria University of Wellington, and the University of Otago.