Big kids still like to play in the mud – Steve Blatnica

From Blog Photos

Research starts at the bottom of the Santa Barbara basin today. As an educator on board I am assigned in the first few days of the cruise to learn as much as possible about the research techniques. Happily, I can tell you that every researcher I’ve talked to over the two long days has openly shared what their scientific goals are. Without hesitation, as I’ve moved from one conversation to the next, every last one of them has taken the time to explain their agendas and previous knowledge on their specialties. Passion about their line of work is so clearly obvious, and the excitement one sees from them as new samples were pulled from the cold muck of Santa Barbara basin cannot be overlooked. What I want to challenge my students to think about today is simply what are they passionate about. What, when someone brings it up, could you talk about for endless amounts of time. What do you want to share with others? What can’t you keep inside because you’re so proud you know about it. I’m convinced that everyone has that something. For nine days I’ll be surrounded by individuals who’s something ranges from planktonic fish that inhabit the pelagic zones of the Pacific, to scientists that covered in ancient sediment wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It’s powerful to watch, and I feel privileged to be apart of that.

Some highlights of day would include my time on the deck helping launch and recover several sediment coring samples. The day started very early, around 05:00. We watched the sun rise to a box core lowering into the sea. I spent a good deal of time learning the ropes on how to load and unload coring equipment from the vessel. Hard hat and life jacket were equipped most of day on deck. I can say that I was impressed by the coring samples themselves as they came on board. It’s impressive to see sediment that was laid down so long ago. To see material that had not seen daylight for close to 2,000 years ago is a sight one in my field of work rarely gets to see. From all the Kasten core, and box core samples collected today scientists from all areas converged to collect samples and focus in on their own area of expertise. A great example of scientific collaboration and work towards a common goal of advancing knowledge.

I won’t lie, and say I’m not tired, because I am. Excitement is keeping me going for now. Science can be exhausting.

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24 Responses to Big kids still like to play in the mud – Steve Blatnica

  1. Khaila Pickering says:

    It sounds like you had a great first day on the research vessel! Did you find out anything interesting yet about the pieces of sediment you found?

    • 2 period CPE says:

      Hello Scientists,
      Be careful not to cut yourself on the wire! We’re rooting for you. How much sleep are you going to be getting? Watch out for pirates! -From Hugh.
      Have their been any accidents on board?

      • calechoes says:

        We work a minimum of 12 hour shifts and sleep is not really a priority. No pirates yet, but we have a spyglass to keep a lookout. No accidents and we intend to stay that way, fingers crossed!

    • calechoes says:

      Absolutely! There have been lots of exciting organisms to look at. For example, we found a Macoma shell. The layer in which Macoma shells are found always correspond to ~1840, so it was a useful discovery for dating the sediment!

    • Steve Blatnica says:

      Many of the sediment that was collected on Monday from the piston core needs to be preserved in an anoxic state, so most of the research on it will happen back in the lab on shore. Be sure to watch the coring video today to learn more about what we learned.

  2. Nick Bennett says:

    It sounds like a good day. I just wouldn’t like waking up at 5 every morning, but I guess you get used to it. How many core samples did you find? Is there anything unusual to you about them?

    • calechoes says:

      So far we have taken 2 Box cores, 3 Kasten cores, 1 Piston core and 1 Multi-core. Nothing extremely unusual, but the layers in the sediments have been very clear which is exciting for dating purposes.

  3. caleigh richissin says:

    What did the sedement look and feel like?

    • Steve Blatnica says:

      The sediment looks different as you get deeper. Towards the surface there is a lot of water in the mud. It kind of falls apart easily. The deeper you go the less water there is, so it’s kind of clay like.

  4. Matt Rensel says:

    I can’t believe you need to wake up at 5 every morning. I did that once for my cross country meet I was so tired by dinner time. Anyway, what does the sediment look like? Did you discover anything new?

    • Steve Blatnica says:

      The sediment looks really great. You can see very well defined lamination (layers) in the mud. It feels kind of gritty, and fluffy. I’ll bring some back for you.

  5. Zachery Myers says:

    What is your favorite dream that some one told you when you interviewed them and why.

  6. Aaron M. says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun and hard work, I thought you said you were working the night shift though? I just wondered because all of the pictures of you are in the day. Has there been any new information collected about the fish yet?

  7. Mindy Rolince (^_^) says:

    You guys must be working like 24/7. Keep up the hard work.

    p.s. Mr. Blatnica you have some doodoo on your finger.

    • Steve Blatnica says:

      That doodoo is actually sediment from the bottom of the Santa Barbara basin. It’s around 2,000 yrs old! My expression should explain how awesome that is.

  8. Adam Poschner says:

    hello scientists, i was just wondering what you are looking forward to learn about the most and why? i think that being of a reasearch vessel would be pretty cool and its interesting to see what you guys are learning and discovering

  9. Maria Lee says:

    Have a good trip! What was the coolest thing you have done so far?

    • Steve Blatnica says:

      The highlight for me so far was helping to deploy and retrieve the box cores and Kasten cores that were sent out on Sunday. I also am having a great time helping produce and edit the daily videos. Hope you guys are able to watch them.

  10. Korie Maryo says:

    Sounds like you are having a blast!! I agree too with the idea that everyone has something that they want to acheive. What was the most interesting thing that someone has told you so far?

  11. Emma S. says:

    I think it’s awesome that everyone is getting along. I hope that you will have a great time on the rest fof the cruise. Try to get some rest!

  12. Amber Martin says:

    Question: Does the time they started research affect the research they find? Did you guys have to start at 5am for a research reason, or just for a time limit reason?
    Thanks for reading, hope everyone stays safe.

  13. Brandon Sours says:

    What do you think the sediment will show these scientists whose dreams are to learn about the past through it?

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