Archive for 07/18/2011

Andrew Taranto –

If Land of the Lost taught me anything, it’s that cool things lurk just below the surface of the earth (and Will Ferrel is the greatest actor of his generation). That’s where the Chikyu Hakken Deep Sea Drill comes in.

The Deep Sea Drilling Vessel D/V Chikyū Hakken (“Earth Discovery” aka “Godzilla-Maru”) is a Japanese scientific drilling ship completed in 2005 for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and is operated by the Japanese centre for Deep Earth Research. It’s designed to bore seven kilometers beneath the seabed and into the Earth’s mantle, deeper than any past ocean-drilled hole.

Once into the mantle, the Chikyu will study and collect samples from the seismogenic zone, shedding light on the internal structure of the planet and how it affects the formation of Earthquakes, as well as look for the presence of undiscovered life in the Earth’s crust and deep-sea resources.

The Chikyu is 210m long, 38m wide and over 16m high. It weighs in at roughly 57,087 tons and a top speed of 12 knots. Rising 70m above the deck (100m above the water), the amidships derrick has a lifting capacity of 1250 tons and uses a 10,000m drill string – three times longer than the height of Mt Fuji.

The Chikyu supports 150 crew members, including 50 science personnel with at-seas crew changes and resupplies handled via helicopter transfer. Since the Chikyu can’t move once it starts drilling, the ship is equipped with an advanced GPS system and six computer-controlled, 3.8m wide azimuth thrusters that work to counteract the effects of tides and currents, keeping the ship directly above the bore site. It also uses a riser system to negate wave action, allowing the rig to drill in waters as deep as 2500m.

The Chikyu drills at a varying rate, depending on how deep its gotten. It cuts through 15m/hr down to 1000m, 8m/hr down to 2000m, but only 3m/hr below that. Once the pipes hit 4000m, it takes approximately 6 hours to fish out and replace a worn drill bit. At those rates, the Chikyu will have to remain stationary in the sea for over a year to reach its 7000m goal.

Full story…

RT –

The raising of the pleasure boat Bulgaria that started early on July 17 has been interrupted by the rupture of one of the lifting cables attached to the ship. The Bulgaria sank on July 10 killing at least 114 people.

­Before being brought to the surface the Bulgaria was first meant to be brought to an even keel. This stage was considered one of the most important stages of the salvage operation, a source in the emergency headquarters of the effort told the Itar-Tass news agency.

While the Bulgaria was being righted, a balancing sling ruptured. It did not, however, have a serious effect on the ship’s straightening. “The second crane was holding it. The vessel did not sink again,” Russian Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky said.

Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Aleksandr Chupiyan said that the rupture of a lifting cable caused a minor spill of fuel, but rescuers contained the spill rapidly.

“Booms were placed immediately, and the spill was contained by 11:50pm. We will not remove the booms until the end of the raising,” he said.

The operation will now continue, and the vessel is expected to be lifted as soon as by Monday evening.

Full story…

Hydro International –

Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS, UK) have discovered previously unknown volcanoes in the ocean waters around the remote South Sandwich Islands.

Using ship-borne sea-floor mapping technology during research cruises onboard the RRS James Clark Ross, the scientists found twelve volcanoes beneath the sea surface, some up to 3km high.

They found 5km diameter craters left by collapsing volcanoes and seven active volcanoes visible above the sea as a chain of islands.

The research is important also for understanding what happens when volcanoes erupt or collapse underwater and their potential for creating serious hazards such as tsunamis.

Also this sub-sea landscape, with its waters warmed by volcanic activity creates a rich habitat for many species of wildlife and adds valuable new insight about life on earth.

Full story…

Hydro International –

Researchers at the University of Illinois have become the first to record an airglow signature in the upper atmosphere produced by a tsunami using a camera system based in Maui, Hawaii. The signature, caused by the earthquake that on 11th March 2011 devastated Japan, was observed in an airglow layer 250 kilometers above Earth’s surface. The findings were recently published in the peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters.

The airglow preceded the tsunami by one hour, suggesting that the technology could be used as an early-warning system in the future. The observation confirms a theory developed in the 1970s that the signature of tsunamis could be observed in the upper atmosphere, specifically the ionosphere. “Imaging the response using the airglow is much more difficult because the window of opportunity for making the observations is so narrow, and had never been achieved before,” said Jonathan Makela, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory. “Our camera happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Tsunamis can generate appreciable wave amplitudes in the upper atmosphere, which in this case was the airglow layer. As a tsunami moves across the ocean, it produces atmospheric gravity waves forced by centimeter-level surface undulations. The amplitude of the waves can reach several kilometers where the neutral atmosphere coexists with the plasma in the ionosphere, causing perturbations that can be imaged.

On the night of the tsunami, conditions above Hawaii for viewing the airglow signature were optimal. Along with graduate student Thomas Gehrels, Makela analysed the images and was able to isolate specific wave periods and orientations. In collaboration with researchers at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, CEA-DAM-DIF in France, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisais Espaciais (INPE) in Brazil, Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and NOVELTIS in France, the researchers found that the wave properties matched those in the ocean-level tsunami measurements. The team also cross-checked their data against theoretical models and measurements made using GPS receivers.

Full story…

Zambezi expedition

Posted: 07/18/2011 in all marine news

Joseph Mwenda –

The Zambezi River which stretches 1,000 kilometers from the Angola border in Chavuma to the Victoria Falls has never been rowed in its entirety, at least until this August when a fearless team of Zambian and British adventurers do the unthinkable.

 Boat racing has been done on the river only for short distances and what comes to mind is the Zambezi River International Regatta which is held in Livingstone. But this group of water enthusiasts will attempt to row down the Zambezi in three double sculling boats with the aim of raising about US$50,000 for Village Water, a charity organization that seeks to provide access to clean drinking water to villages in North Western Province.

 The Zambezi River, which has been recognized as one of the top 10 waterways in the world for boating and white-water rafting activities, flows through wild and dangerous terrains such as open stretches of rapids, some only passable by carrying the boats through the surrounding bushes.

 In some areas like the Barotse flood plain, the fourth largest river in Africa can be 25 kilometers wide and the waters, though weedy, are normally calm. But it does not guarantee any safety given the hippo and crocodile population.

 That however, will not discourage the rowers from conquering a million meters for a million litres hence they have nicknamed the expedition “Operation Hungry Hippo”.

 This journey to Victoria Falls will demand discipline, determination and endurance. The team appears geared to row the Zambezi from the Angola border to the mighty Victoria Falls in under 15 days only.
 “We expected to row up to 70 kilometers in eight hours during the day and camp on the banks of the Zambezi in the night before embarking again on the journey to Victoria Falls,” says expedition leader Tim Cook.

 Cook, who is also the pioneer of the adventure, originally wanted to do a usual expedition by sailing down the Atlantic Ocean in celebrating his 50th birthday this year.

 “One of my sons said why can’t you do something unusual, dad, say row down the Zambezi? so I said to him that was not possible because no one has done it before. Then later I tried to look up Google Earth and zoomed in, and then I realized that it was actually possible,” he says.

Full story…

A Monday joke…!

Posted: 07/18/2011 in all marine news

The Bridge…

A man on his Harley motorcycle was riding along a California beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, God said, ‘Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.’

The biker pulled over and said, ‘Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can ride over anytime I want.’

God replied, ‘Your request is materialistic; think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking; the supports required reaching the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take!

I can it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind.’

The biker thought about it for a long time. Finally, he said, ‘God, I wish that I, and all men, could understand women; I want to know how she feels inside, what she’s thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing’s wrong, why she snaps and complains when I try to help, and how I can make a woman truly happy.

God replied: ‘You want two lanes or four lanes on that bridge ?”