We have collected our last sediment core in Antarctica for this expedition, and with all the sediment sampling done, we are ready to head back home.
We moved from the southern Bellingshausen Sea to a northern area, in the Antarctic Peninsula. In this last location, we could see the mountains that form the Antarctic Peninsula; unfortunately most days were overcast and so we could not see very far. Still, we could see the massive glaciers covering some of the mountains and making their way down from the peaks to the water.
This past week was also coring-intensive. Additionally, we sampled some of the cores collected so that I can take some samples with me to UH. In our sedimentology laboratory, we can measure grain size of the sediment and measure the content of some radioisotopes in the samples — with this, we can estimate the ages of the sediments and the rates at which they are being deposited on the seafloor. All the cores we collected near the Antarctic Peninsula have an olive-green color and very few sand grains. That color is associated with large amounts of diatoms and organic material, which contrast with the light-grey color from areas in the southern Bellingshausen Sea. A closer look under the microscope at UH will give us a better idea of what is in the sediments collected.