While almost all the other scientists are following the core flow, eagerly waiting for the next core to be split, the Geochemistry Team follows its own schedule.
During the Offshore Phase in November and December 2017, Simone Sauer and Clint Miller were already busily collecting pore water that they squeezed and sucked out of certain core sections. This way, over 260 of water samples have already been collected, which can now be analyzed before enough sediment samples have been taken for further processing.
It is particularly interesting to determine the elemental composition of the pore water, including cations and anions of different elements, in order to better understand diffusion processes, adsorption, absorption, chemical exchange processes between the sediment and the water, as well as microbial reactions.
Offshore, the pore water samples were split up according to the number of analyses that will be performed during the Onshore Science Party and afterwards. This results in over 1200 little bottles, flasks and vials that all need to be sorted, transferred to different vials, resorted and diluted before any analysis can start – an arduous task!
After almost one week of lab work, the Ion Chromatograph, measuring the anions, and the Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectrometer, measuring the cations, are running non-stop and first results are expected for the weekend. Meanwhile, the phosphate content of 63 samples was determined manually, producing fascinating variations of blue liquids. The results look both promising and surprising and the Geochemists are very excited and eager to spend more time on the interpretation as soon as possible!
Carol Mahoney, Clint Miller, Simone Sauer and Joana Seguin