The French research vessel "Marion Dufresne" – named after the French explorer who reached Tasmania before the English and the first European to make contact with Tasmania’s indigenous population. The ship was first launched in 1995.
Image courtesy of Missy Holzer and the PACHIDERME program

Deep Sea Sediment Cores Provide Clues to Climate Puzzle

Climate puzzle pieces are hidden in many obscure places around the globe including in the ocean sediments that have accumulated over recent and distant past. Removing these treasure latent cores from the ocean depths provides information about past climates including atmospheric and oceanic conditions. The focus of the upcoming 3 week research cruise of the Research Vessel Marion Dufresne (shown above), of the French Polar Institute (IPEV), off the coast of Chile embarking on February 6, 2007 will be to collect approximately 25 deep sea cores to help answer the puzzling questions about climate change. The goals of the PACHIDERME (PAcifique- CHILi-Dynamique des Eaux intermediaries) cruise under the guidance of Chief Scientist Dr. Catherine Kissel will be to determine the thermocline and intermediate water ventilation in the far Southeastern Pacific, to study the past latitudinal intensity variability of the west wind belt, and to study the climatologic chronology of the glaciation and climate change of the region among others.

Besides a number of noted research scientists from around the world onboard will be 4 teachers immersing themselves in the experience of life at sea and research with the guidance of one scientist. Their students will be taking part in this cruise by sending emails, participating in blogs, and journaling about the daily exploits of those onboard. You and your students can join the "Core-Education" Team as they journey up the coast and between the fjords of Chile by sending them emails about the science and the research. Send your emails to and they will enjoy getting back to you.

Missy Holzer, Erika Gutierrez, Edith Poblete, Luis Pinto and Carlo Laj
Last modified February 12, 2007 by Roberta Johnson.

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