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  • Writer's pictureBecca Dzombak

Sampling Precambrian rocks from the FAR-DEEP cores at Norway Geological Survey

I recently spent a week sampling Precambrian drill cores from the Fennoscandian shield; the drill cores from the FAR-DEEP project (part of DSDP) are housed and impressively-logisticsed by the Norway Geological Survey in Trondheim. Nestled cozily into a bay of the Trondheim Fjord, Trondheim is a small city by U.S. standards, but the second-largest in Norway (population just shy of 200k). We got lucky with the weather: all week, we saw essentially nothing but blue, cloudless skies and temperatures that never went above 70. And, because it's so far north, it never really got dark - which took a little adjusting to, but in the end I really enjoyed it.

I went out (supported by a GSA graduate student research grant) to sample potential paleosols or weathering surfaces, some of which have been documented by previous workers. I was expecting to find a few profiles I could sample; I didn't think I'd come back empty-handed, but I also wasn't expecting... the almost 200 samples that are being shipped to me now. There were so many unique environments and interesting questions raised that I couldn't help myself; not only did I sample potentially weathered rocks, I grabbed material from supratidal sabhkas with crazy dissolution and oxidation features, gorgeous pale pink microbialites, varved lacustrine sediments, weird volcanics... the list goes on. Obviously, I'll be prioritizing the rocks that were my main goal (gotta get that paper submitted!), but everything else is a tantalizing side project.

Everyone with whom I worked while sampling - NGU folks, visiting students and profs from Yale, Stanford, University of Portsmouth (UK), and University of Tuebingen (Germany) were absolutely lovely and such fun to hang out with and talk rocks. It's always refreshing to meet a new batch of people with different perspectives. Prior to this work, I had been on vacation in Paris for two weeks (which, by the way, 11/10 recommend), and I was worried about coming back to work. But doing this "field"work was the perfect transition: working hard, but doing something different, with new people. I'm back in Michigan now, running sequential for the next few weeks, but I've returned motivated and upbeat. That's the point of vacation after all, right?

We quickly discovered that the best wifi was in the hall... all those boxes are filled with core. Probably about 1/4 of all the cores are pictured here... we made it through nearly the entire 3.5km repository!

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