The Lure of the Unknown

“Probably the greatest enticement for those who today are devoting their lives to the study of the sea is the lure of the unknown, the challenge of the undiscovered, the thrill of discovery on what is truly the last frontier on earth.” H. B. Stewart (1966) Deep Challenge

Soon I will be heading away on the second part of a scientific research expedition which, second time lucky, will cross the south Atlantic Ocean from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to Montevideo in Uruguay along 40° south. I will join a bunch of intrepid explorers and we will search the depths for answers to some fundamental questions in chemical and biological oceanography.

We shall gather a variety of samples across our cruise trajectory and we are specifically interested in identifying hydrothemal plumes originating from the Mid-Atlanitic Ridge and the trace metals that are carried within them. If you are interested in catching up with what we did on the first leg of the cruise you can find our last blog here.

Unfortunately we were not able to finish the job we set out to do as one of the science team became very ill and we had to return to land. Now we have another chance to achieve our objectives, another chance for adventure and the excitement that accompanies the thrill of discovery!

The Royal Research Ship the James Cook

The second leg of the UKGEOTRACES 40°S research cruise will take place on board the RRS James Cook over Christmas and New Year through to the end of January 2012

I hope to keep this blog updated with news of our progress and the science – hopefully with some nice photos to boot – stay tuned!

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About Roisin Moriarty

Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry group at the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Science at the University of Manchester, UK. I work with noble gases and tritium in seawater samples from the south Atlantic and the Southern Ocean. I participate in research cruises in order to collect the seawater samples that I analyse. I am now working as a chemical oceanographer/noble gas geochemistry but I have a background in ocean biogeochemical modelling and zoology.
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