27 August, 2001
The Leaders of the Pack
Today we are heading northeast along Gakkel Ridge and have come to a region where our dredging will slow down somewhat. This should be helpful as our lab space is overrun with rocks to be processed. There is not an inch of table in the lab not covered with beautiful basalts, gabbros, peridotites, or other amazing rock. It is quite a sight to behold.
So who makes the decisions concerning the where and when of the dredges that we do? Why the chief scientists, of course. These men spend much time making important decisions and are continually engrossed in the amazing maps that are being made as we travel along.
The chief scientist in charge of the mission is Dr. Peter Michael from the University of Tulsa. Dr. Michael is ultimately responsible for the decisions and spends many long hours awake and at work. He is involved in his decision making process with several co-chiefs-- Dr. Charles Langmuir from Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) and Dr. Henry Dick of Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). These two gentlemen are scientists with different specialties. It is entertaining to watch them as they try to persuade each other to head to a dredge site where their interest can be satisfied. There are also two senior scientists aboard-- Dr. Dave Graham from Oregon State University and Dr. Steve Goldstein from LDEO.
With various backgrounds, you can imagine that these 5 scientists have many points on which to debate. However, they all share the same common goal- -to map and collect rocks from the last unsampled ridge on the ocean floor-Gakkel Ridge. And they do find it easy to agree that what we are uncovering here is "wild geology" that may leave the scientific community reconsidering previous theories about seafloor spreading. When the data being collected on our expedition is published, new hypothesis about ocean ridges will certainly need to be made. And just imagine--a 7th grade science teacher is a part of this most exciting adventure of discovery.
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