How a drilling ship pulls cores from 2.5 miles below the sea | 6/29/2009 | Staff
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An ocean drilling ship is not an ocean drilling ship without the skilled and experienced personnel that control, execute and overview the drilling operations. The JOIDES Resolution is no exception.

Of the 123 souls currently onboard, about 30 people facilitate the success and safety of all ocean drilling operations—about the same number as scientists onboard. Among them are five drillers, two tool pushers, six floormen and two derrickmen. While drillers control the advance of the drill pipe and the motion of the core barrel within the drill pipe from a control booth, tool pushers oversee the operations and maintain equipment and tools. Floormen and derrickmen perform all actions on the rig floor, from putting the drill pipe together and sending the core barrel down the drill pipe to the sea floor, to eventually pulling a sediment-laden core out of the core barrel. Most of the drill crew have decades of experience.

Sediments - Purposes - Steel - Rod - Sea

Drilling ocean sediments for scientific purposes is not simply achieved by forcing a steel rod into the sea floor and hoping for the best recovery. It actually involves building a multi-piece drill bit (called the bottom-hole assembly) that cuts into the seabed, as well as carefully maneuvering and documenting the location of the drill bit near and below the seafloor, and adjusting the drilling tools according to the stiffness and composition of the material. Most importantly, seafloor drilling requires facilitating safe drilling operations, in particular for those right in the center of action on the JOIDES Resolution rig floor, our floormen.

As a sedimentologist onboard, I primarily work in the core laboratory. On the live feed monitors of the core laboratory, we can watch the drill team work on the rig floor. It is winter in the Southern Ocean at the moment, so it is mostly windy or rainy outside, or in...
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