Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rhizon Pore Water Sampling

Interstitial water samples are a crucial component of marine
scientific coring expeditions. Although it has long been understood
that pore water affects a range of processes including: fluid flow,
mineral diagenesis, microbial reactions, etc. scientists were unable
to collect high resolution (thinly spaced) water profiles due to
methodological issues. The traditional method of cutting small core
sections and squeezing the water out (just as one would squeeze an
aluminum can for recycling) ruined the sedimentary record and often
forced scientists to choose between the water and the soil.

On this cruise we are utilizing a better method for pore water
recovery - Rhizons. Rhizons consist of a small hydrophilic polymer
tube supported by a wire that is connected to a flexible hose which
passes water to a collection chamber (syringe in this case). Prior to
collect a small hole is drilled in the core liner and the microporous
polymer tube is inserted into the sediment. The syringe is pulled open
and the vacuum slowly pulls water out of the sediment. Generally, this
process takes between 30 minutes and one hour.

The samples are immediately placed inside a refrigerator awaiting
analysis upon our return to the United States.

Posted by Clint Miller