Amongst other things: doors, fuel and water.
The doors on the ship are solid, made of metal, heavy and beautifully crafted. They remind me of old castles, the intricate lever mechanisms look positively medieval. You always open a door by lifting the handle (not pushing down) and you never let go. These sturdy, watertight, utilitarian, robust appliances would cause serious damage to your hands or leg if you happened to be unfortunate enough to be caught by them. The emergency fire and flood doors that operate automatically can result in death if a person was trapped by their mighty force. Many of the internal doors are normal doors – for example the cabin doors.
Watertight doors: beautifully crafted and lethal for the shins
Clockwise: cabin door, gate to the bridge, handrail – the latter two are made of finely finished brushed stainless steel.
Internal flood doors – stay out of the way!
There are two trainee cadets on the RRS James Cook. The picture below is of Christina (this is her first time at sea) and Declan. Declan has been here for a number of years. Today, Declan was showing Christina how test safety helmets. I will be speaking to them for my people profiles in the next few weeks.
Declan and Christina
The airguns started today. I’ll tell you about the airguns tomorrow. Currently we have a large bang that reverberates through the ship every 60 seconds (sometimes followed 4.5 seconds by an echo from the seabed on the hull) and will continue to do so day and night for 5 days.
The air is in the orange cable. 206 decibels is released with every blast.
Answers to Questions:
Any idea as to the cause of asymmetrical spreading?
- Lower melt impact into the crust (around 50% of that required to fill the gap between spreading plates) which in models predisposes to the creation of detachments and asymmetric spreading.
- Low melt will form thinner crust, making it easier for seawater to reach mantle peridotite, react with it to form serpentine and thus lubricate the fault to keep it slipping again leading to a detachment fault.
Are Ocean Core Complexes a common feature of all Mid Oceanic Ridges or just slow spreading ones?
So far as we know, mainly slow (or ultra-slow) spreading ridges. None are known on fast spreading ridges though one occurs in the mid to fast back-arc basin in the Philippine Sea.
Are you hoping to image the position of magma chambers or will that be the focus of another expedition?
It is possible on this trip but is not the main focus of our expedition.
We are highly unlikely to see any large mammals. Only maybe as we go into port. I have seen flying fish and others have seen tiny squid. Very hard to photograph either though.
How much fuel will be have used by the end of the cruise?
Today we are using 5.6 litres of fuel per minute as we are towing the airgun array. This equates to 4950 litres per day. We are travelling at 4.9 knots but probably lose ¾ of a knot due to the drag from the airguns.
Our daily fuel consumption in metric tonnes from Cape Verde is as follows: 19.6 + 3.4 + 13.1 + 15.0 + 13.7 +9.0 + 8.8 + 4.1 = 86.7 metric tonnes so far.
So quite a bit of fuel!
What about fresh water, is it kept in tanks?
The water was topped up in Cape Verde – in tanks on board. We also have our own desalination plant which tops up these water tanks from seawater.
Greywater (from showers) and blackwater (from toilets) is cleaned, there is a sewage plant on board, and then deposited in the sea.
No water on board is recycled.
Schematic diagram of water tanks.
Schematic diagram of used water
I attach the diagrams for all my geeky engineering friends (and husband).
Can I recommend any geological novels?
I put this one out to Twitter and Waterstones suggested:
Novels of James A Mitchener
Other suggestion include:
A trilogy about living on Mars. I think the first one is Red Mars. Prof Roger Searle enjoys these.
Pompeii – I think by R Harris??? This is an excellent account of a volcanic eruption.
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (about Mary Anning – Lyme Regis)
In Suspect Terrain by John McPhee
The Martian is also an excellent book but I cannot remember the author.
Thank you to all those who gave suggestions:
Including Geological Outreach: Plate Expectations …….. oooooo CORNY!!
Thank you to Christine Falder and Dr Rebecca Gould from Greenhead College for the questions.
We like lots of questions