Mapping the Seafloor

by | 4.20.2015 at 11:53am
In addition to depth, we can identify many features in the high-resolution multibeam data that we produce. Most of the seafloor near the shelf break (where the water is between 300 and 500 meters deep) is covered with these irregular furrows that are created when large icebergs are grounded here.

One of the goals of this expedition is to investigate if water from the Southern Ocean with temperatures above the melting point of glaciers could reach the glaciers in East Antarctica, and if there are any obstacles on the seafloor of the shelf that impact the ability of such water to reach the glaciers and ice streams.

Lamont-Doherty Strategic Plan

by | 4.17.2015 at 10:58am
Lamont Strategic Plan

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has been a leader in the study of our planet since its founding 65 years ago. Today, Observatory scientists continue the institution’s long tradition of addressing important questions in the Earth and planetary sciences. 

In a Melting Iceland, Drilling Deep to Stem Climate Change

by | 4.13.2015 at 4:22pm
Underground, carbon dioxide disperses through volcanic basalt, and solidifies into a substance similar to limestone. A geologist shows off a core taken from the injection zone.

Iceland is pioneering a new technology to deal with climate change. Its Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, the world’s largest, hosts arguably the world’s most advanced program to capture and lock away globe-warming carbon dioxide.

In the Ice

by | 4.10.2015 at 9:12am
Some examples of the sea ice that we have encountered so far. Top left: bands of grease ice, Top right: small pancake ice merged together; bottom left: larger pancake ice; bottom right: The Nathaniel B. Palmer steaming through dense sea ice cover.

Several days ago we reached our main work areas along the margin of East Antarctica. Our expedition is relatively late in the season and the seas around Antarctica are starting to freeze.

Closing in on Antarctica

by | 4.6.2015 at 11:29am
During our transit south to Antarctica we deployed seven ARGO floats (yellow device in picture) for the University of Washington. They drift with the currents in the oceans, measure profiles of salinity and temperature and send those via satellite to researchers on land. They are part of an international effort to better monitor the conditions of the oceans.

We are less than a day away from our first study area on the continental shelf in front of the Dibble Glacier. As we approach Antarctica we are starting our science program with a 4500 meter deep CTD and multibeam acquisition.

Indian Sundarban

by | 3.30.2015 at 1:34pm
Overhanging rooks and slumps reveal the much larger amount of erosion and land loss in the Indian Sundarban

We arrived in Kolkata, and filmed by the Hooghly River. While it is no longer the main channel of the Ganges, it is still the Holy Ganges and we saw a funeral procession spreading ashes of a loved one while filming there. Then a 5 hour trip by car, ferry, rickshaw and boat to the Indian Sundarbans. The mangrove forest here is undergoing more erosion and land loss than in Bangladesh, where more river sediments can replenish it. The water here is more saline and the trees are small. A tiger was spotted by another boat, but was gone when we got there.

On Our Way: Avoiding the Storm

by | 3.30.2015 at 10:24am
Map showing the planned track of our expedition with the modifications made due to the storm systems. Our main study areas are on the continental shelf in front of some major East Antarctic glaciers.

We are now aboard the R/V Palmer and on our way to East Antarctica. Due to two storms in our direct way we are heading west first to go around the storms and we’ll then head south on their backside.

Geology and Filming in Mizoram

by | 3.27.2015 at 2:08pm
A small boat sailing up a scenic river in Mizoram.

In the small town of Kolasib, we stayed in Hotel Cloud 9. I had been told since I was a child that I was always off on Cloud 9 and now I was actually here. However, the electricity wasn’t for the first few hours, so showers were cold, but the dinner was hot.

Soon-to-End Mercury Mission May Hold Clues to Earth’s Evolution

by | 3.27.2015 at 11:58am
sean-vid

NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has been orbiting Mercury for the last four years, giving scientists an unprecedented look at our solar system’s innermost planet. But now the craft’s fuel supply is exhausted; inexorably drawn in by Mercury’s gravity, it is scheduled to crash in April. Sean Solomon, director of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has been leading the mission, and in this video, he talks about its implications.

Adapting to the Unexpected

by | 3.24.2015 at 10:30am | 1 Comment
Preparing the Zodiac to transport the injured crew member to land.

I grew up outside of Chicago and I wasn’t a Boy Scout, so sometimes I feel like I missed out on learning the type of practical—albeit rarely used—skills that would have garnered merit badges. Now that I’m nearing the conclusion of my fourth research expedition at sea, I think I have amassed a few badge-worthy tricks.