5 February 2015

Shoving Off

Posted by Nanci Bompey

By Lisa Strong

This is the first in a series of dispatches from Lisa Strong, a video producer and education officer aboard the JOIDES Resolution, a scientific ocean drilling ship currently on a two-month research expedition in the Bay of Bengal.  

For me, planning started two months ago. For others, the plan has been in the works for 18 years! The time is now. We converged on Singapore, our port of call. And this morning, we shoved off. We’re embarking on Expedition 354, a two-month research expedition aboard the JOIDES Resolution in the Bay of Bengal.

I’m the video producer and one of the education officers on the expedition. I’ll be producing short videos while we’re at sea, and producing live video webcasts with schools and museums around the world. Here is the link to the Expedition Trailer where you can meet the co-principle investigators and learn about our objectives:

The JOIDES Resolution (JR for short) is a 470-foot scientific ocean drilling ship operated by the United States. It can punch or drill core out of the seafloor.  Since the seafloor is not generally available for viewing, like, say, the Grand Canyon, the recovered core is a valuable window on earth processes hidden underwater and inside the seafloor. The JR can operate in waters as deep as 27,000 feet. On Expedition 354, we’ll be coring a transect across the middle Bengal Fan in the Bay of Bengal. It’s in the northern Indian Ocean to the east of India.

The Bengal Fan is the outflow of sediment from two mighty rivers – the Brahmaputra and the Ganges. Those rivers drain much of the highest mountain range on Earth – the Himalaya. Himalayan erosion debris plummets downstream in one of the steepest descents on Earth.  Then the rivers hit one of the flattest places on Earth – Bangladesh. A lot of sediment is dropped there, creating flat fertile plains. But much still makes it to through the delta and into the head of the Bengal Fan. Layers upon layers of sediment have settled out creating a record that scientists aboard hope will tell them about the past climate, the changing strength of the Asian monsoon, and the history of uplift and erosion of the Himalaya.

There are several ways to follow the expedition: here on GeoSpace, on the official JR website, on Twitter (#Exp354), and Facebook. You can even sign your group up for a live video webcast during the expedition. Sign-ups are here: http://joidesresolution.org/node/1746.

— Guest blogger Lisa Strong is a video producer and education officer aboard the JOIDES Resolution.