Galapagos-Peru ocean coring expedition


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In late May - early April 2009 our group (PIs Herbert, Lea, Rosenthal and Koutavas) led a deep-sea coring expedition in the eastern equatorial Pacific aboard the research vessel Knorr. Over the course of 11 days we traversed the eastern Pacific from Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos to Peru, and back. We colected 41 piston, gravity and multi-cores from four separate areas: Northeast Galapagos Platform, Peru Margin, South Carnegie Ridge, and Espanola Island/Galapagos. Material collected by the expedition (funded by the US National Science Foundation) will address fundamental questions of climate change in the eastern tropical Pacific, one of the most dynamic and globally important ocean regions. Unique contributions of the cruise include the long piston cores (up to 43 m long) collected with the new Charles D. Holister system (CDH), and the large suite of multicores which will address the most recent period of climate variability leading to modern times. Cores from many new areas have the potential to provide new insights on climate variability in this region.

Multicore recovered at reoccupation of site V21-30 north of Espanola Island, Galapagos

The RV Knorr seen through the Galapagos vegetation

Our group preparing to board a water taxi for transit to the Knorr

On the way to the Knorr we pass the National Geographic ship "Polaris"

Approaching the Knorr by water taxi

Contemplating spreading rates and age of the Galapagos Plateau in the science lab

Jim Broda and Yair Rosenthal

Santa Cruz Island during our departure

The long piston corer (CDH) at rest on deck

Nighttime launch of the CDH

CDH crew at work

CDH covered with mud after recovery

CDH receiving a scrub after recovery

Gravity core recovery

Preparing to release gravity core on deck

Having released the weights, siphoned off excess water and cut the PVC pipe, the core top is clearly visible

Multicore lowered on deck


Multicores hanging on the wall awaiting processing. Note the dark oxidized layer at the sediment top.


Extruding a multicore

Multicore top, note pink starfish

Jeff, Fico and Mattieu slabbing a multicore at cm-wide intervals

Multicore slabbing crew

Koutavas (right) slabbing a multicore

Candace and Kent

Pilot whales

While deploying the CDH off Peru, a crew member gets some reading done, while a fishing boat comes uncomfortably close

Peruvian fishing boat

Peruvian fishermen turning around

Coastal waters of Peru with land in the background