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28 July 2007

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By Tina and Bob King
We began the day with a morning warm-up, "Zip, Zap, Zoom". The warm-up activities each morning helped get everyone's mind in gear, as well as promoted interaction and "unity" among the scientists and participants. People generally tend to work with the same people, so this was a great way to bond the whole group together. It encouraged participants to work with different groups during the course of the week.

The warm-up activity was followed by a presentation about the ANDRILL Drilling Project in Antarctica. The education outreach coordinator, Louise Huffman, and two teachers working with the project, Vanessa Miller and Julia Dooley, also participated with the JOI School of Rock this week.

John Firth, the curator for the deep ocean cores housed in the United States, showed several sites on the Internet to connect information and data for future activities. He also led the participants in an activity in the core lab utilizing actual archived cores and real time data. The objective for this activity was to examine and describe features and characteristics of cores from two coring sites by looking at subtle differences in the sediments. This exercise enabled participants to "read the clues in the core" in order to form conclusions about these cores.

One core had evidence of turbidites – of coarse materials on top of fine-grained sediments, which indicated a sudden change. Turbidites occur when a big pulse brings in rocks and debris from other places, so it's important to note the source rock. A big pulse could be generated from sudden glacial melting or earthquakes on land that cause material to slide into the sea. Turbidites record sediment history, glacial activity, and sea level variations. Sudden changes can be recorded in history by noting the colors, textures, composition, and structure of the sediment. Our activity in the core lab today connected with the movie, "Ice Age, the Meltdown," which showed an ice dam breaking and flooding the valley. A similar catastrophic event has actually happened in modern history in Iceland when a volcano erupted under glaciers and melted the ice to cause sudden and dramatic flooding. This type of event is referred to as a Jökulhlaup (pronounced Yo-kul-loop). This same thing was noted in one of the cores. We also saw banding in the sediment of seasonal changes, much like counting years with tree rings.

We ended the day in the core lab by examining cores from Antarctica. It has been amazing to examine actual cores from around the world ocean.

After working with the scientists on our lesson plans and activities, we ended this wonderful week by eating real Texas barbecue for dinner. It was a nice way to end this great learning experience with new friends. Even though this experience is coming to an end, it is really just a beginning to work with the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.

Happy Birthday, Jessica... her birthday was today.

I think we all agreed that the 2007 School of Rock... ROCKED!

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