Posts Tagged ‘geologist’

The radio show Living on Earth is a source of information that I find delightful — not only because the topics are about nature but because they are sometimes so offbeat.

Recently the focus was on a new species in the ocean under the ice.

“Under the Antarctic ice lurk newly discovered sea anemones. Frank Rack, Executive Director of the U.S. Antarctic Geological Drilling team, tells host by Steve Curwood about how the team discovered this new species that hangs upside down from the Ross Ice Shelf. …

CURWOOD: “A team from ANDRILL, that’s the Antarctic Geological Drilling, has discovered a new type of sea anemone, while testing a remotely operated vehicle under the Ross Ice Shelf off Antarctica. The researchers are geologists and sedimentologists. The director of the team is Frank Rack from University of Nebraska.

RACK: “We were melting holes through the 270 meters of ice. We were deploying oceanographic sensors to measure current speed and direction. …

CURWOOD: “How long did it take you to find sea anemones down there?

RACK: “It was a total surprise. We melted a hole through the ice, and we had been running a camera down to the sea floor and back up. And in those observations, the ice shelf looked plain and featureless, but when we put down the robot and had more sensitive camera systems and could get very close to the bottom of the ice, that’s where the anemones appeared. They were quite numerous and widespread, and they were living in burrows in the bottom of the ice shelf, hanging upside down into the water column. …

CURWOOD: “So if they’re on the bottom of the ice, way down under the sea, they’re upside down, they’re hanging down like bats, huh?

RACK: “They are. They’re at about 230 meters below the sea level, and then there’s another 650 to 680 meters of water below. So the currents are circulating water across the continental shelf and up underneath the floating ice shelf, and the anemones are feeding and surviving in that environment.”

Read the whole transcript here.

Photo: Frank R. Rack, ANDRILL Science Management Office, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
An underwater picture of the sea anemones.


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On Wednesday, according to Todd Feathers in the Boston Globe, a New Hampshire scallop fisherman found something unusual in his catch.

“As Mike and Padi Anderson sold their catch of scallops on the dock Wednesday night in Rye Harbor, N.H., it was not just their shellfish that drew people’s interest. It was an ­object that looks like a 6-inch-long tooth that Mike had dredged up from the ocean earlier that day. …

“A crew member e-mailed a picture to a geologist from the University of New Hampshire, and a short while later the verdict came back: The tooth almost certainly belonged to a woolly mammoth. …

“The tooth weighs about 5 pounds and still has remnants of the root that connected it to the mammoth’s gums, Mike Anderson said in a phone interview from the deck of his boat, the F/V Rimrack. …

“The Andersons, who are married, will have to wait until William Clyde, the geologist, ­returns from a trip to South America before they can confirm that the tooth once belonged to a mammoth, but for them, the preliminary ruling is enough.”

Anderson seems excited to head back out for more archaeology. More.

Reminds me of John Hanson Mitchell and his book Ceremonial Time, which describes his attempts to sense and experience 15,000 years of life around his home in Massachusetts.

Finding a woolly mammoth tooth must really make one pause and think about big things.

Photograph of scallop fisherman Mike Anderson: Ionna Raptis/ Portsmouth Herald via AP

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