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Life in the deep: All aboard the JOIDES Resolution

Published 4:39 AM ET, Tue February 4, 2020
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The JOIDES Resolution (pictured 2017) is one of the scientific community's only available drilling vessels. A 41-year-old converted oil exploration ship, her drill string can reach depths in excess of 8,000 meters below the ocean surface. Shuhao Xie/IODP
A view down the moon pool -- a void in the middle of the ship -- of the JOIDES Resolution on Expedition 336 in 2011, which probed the North Pond area of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Tim Fulton/IODP JRSO
A drill string and reentry cone breaks the surface in Iceberg Alley off Antarctica in 2019. The drill string drops through a moon pool and the reentry cone eventually sits on the ocean floor. Each hole is given a name (in this case, U1536E), and the reentry cone allows for future expeditions to drill in the same hole. Thomas Ronge/IODP
The JOIDES Resolution leaving Hawaii in 2009 to begin Expedition 320. Named after Captain James Cook's ship the HMS Resolution, she has travelled to all corners of the world, and as a result doesn't have a home port. William Crawford/IODP USIO
Sedimentologist Laura Haynes inspects a sample on Expedition 378. Haynes specializes in taking the chemistry of fossil shells and using it to reconstruct seawater acidity at previous stages of history. Rosie Sheward & IODP
Microfossils examined by Laura Haynes aboard the JOIDES Resolution. The rainbow colored microfossil on the left and the carbonate microfossil on the right (stained blue) are fractions of a millimeter wide. Laura Haynes/IODP
A chunk of gas hydrate extracted from a sample in 2015. Formed by a mixture of water and gas (such as methane) in high pressure, low temperature environments, it has been touted as a potential fuel source. IODP
Racks of core samples aboard the Resolution in 2012. After an initial inspection, cores are split lengthways, with one half tested further. Cores are then refrigerated and stored for future scientific evaluation. John Beck/IODP/TAMU
Scientists on Expedition 378 are briefed on the various drill bits used by the ship. The two larger drill bits are rotary, cutting a donut shape. Some are made of carbon steel while others are impregnated with diamonds, said Brad Clement, director of science services at the IODP. Ursula Röhl/IODP
The Resolution at night sailing to the Bengal Fan, Bay of Bengal in 2015. Expeditions are typically around two months, and the crew work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week during drilling operations. Lisa Strong/IODP
Physical properties specialist Elizabeth Sibert retrieves a core during Expedition 378. The trip collected over 900 meters of samples. Debbie Thomas/IODP
Sibert demonstrating an immersion suit for use in emergency situations at sea. Tim Fulton/IODP JRSO
Cut cores undergoing examination during Expedition 378. Yiming Yu/IODP
Sedimentologist Emmanuelle Duscassou in 2012 with columns of hand-drawn core logs on display behind her. Part of the appeal for scientists on board is that their work has immediate value, said Clement. John Beck/IODP/TAMU