16 Feb AWI and USGS Upgrade their MSCLs
All Multi-Sensor Core Loggers (MSCLs) are modular and therefore can be upgraded to include the latest sensor technology. The ability to upgrade an MSCL to the latest specifications ensures longevity of use and future-proofs the instrument, ensuring that high-quality data can continue to be collected automatically, accurately, and at speed.
It is almost 30 years since the first MSCL sale. Since then, new sensors and electronics have become available, creating countless avenues of research to explore, including paleoclimate studies, oil and gas research, mineral exploration, marine geoscience, and so much more. The addition of new sensor technology has provided a cost effective solution to allow a suite of geophysical measurements to be taken from sediment or rock cores. To demonstrate how a few of our customers have benefited from modular upgrades, we have included some case studies below.
Olympus Delta XRF Upgrade of MSCL-S Number 75 – United States Geological Survey (USGS)
MSCL-S Number 75 was purchased in 2002, replacing the very first MSCL bought in 1989. It has since logged several thousand meters of core, and aided around 40 different PhD researchers. The system has benefited not only the USGS Science Centre in Santa Cruz, but also USGS employees from Alaska to Southern California and as far east as Woods Hole Institute. The USGS also provide core logging support using the MSCL-S to Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (https://www.mbari.org), and other researchers.
Following a heavy workload spread over 15 years the USGS decided to upgrade their logger, updating the system’s electronics, and adding on an XRF sensor and new Geoscan V linescan camera. The new upgrades will allow the Geotek support team to reduce support and service time on the instrument, and add new software features such as automatic focus and aperture control for the Geoscan V. The upgraded system will now be used to investigate the latest geoscience research topics that are facing the USA, including: sediment transport studies affecting coastal areas, coral reefs, tsunami and paleotsunami recurrence and inundation, climate change/paleoclimate, paleocurrent, seismic hazards (earthquake recurrence intervals back through time), sea level rise, seafloor habitats, and mineralogical studies.
Michael Torresan, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center’s Lab manager and curator adds: “The XRF will add the ability to better geochemically fingerprint our core samples, after which we can use these data with other indicators in cores to help our research.” An example of one research area is from one of the USGS’s seismic hazards researchers (Janet Watt). In 2016 the active fault trace was identified in the San Pablo Bay, California, revealing the Hayward fault trace which runs north towards the Napa Valley. This active fault that lies beneath the bay links two of the most urbanized and hazardous strike-slip faults in the San Francisco Bay area. Janet has cored on either side of the fault trace and logged the cores using the MSCL-S and Geoscan camera. The new XRF instrument will now be used to acquire downcore elemental analysis to see if these data can help to define the cross-fault stratigraphy, aid in the determination of creep rates along that portion of the fault, and to investigate if there is a way to determine recurrence intervals between earthquakes. Further information on Janet’s work can be found here: https://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/news/index2016.html#oct16b.
Electronics and Track Upgrade of MSCL-S S/N25 – Alfred Wegner Institute (AWI)
Another of the early MSCL systems has also had its electronics and core pusher system upgraded, following over 20 years near continuous core logging. MSCL-S Number 25 was first purchased in 1996 and along side MSCL-S Number 14 has been to a total of ca. 40 expeditions on AWI’s research icebreaker Polarstern, as well as many more expeditions on other German and international research vessels.
In addition to offshore research cruises, the core loggers have been to several onshore deep drilling projects including Cape Roberts, Antarctica (total meterage logged 800m); ANDRILL (http://www.andrill.org/static/About.html), Antarctica (total meterage logged 2.5km); PASADO, Patagonia (total meterage logged 500m) (http://www.pasado.uni-bremen.de/); and Lake El’gygytgyn, Siberia (total meterage
logged 900m). These drilling projects provide crucial geological information into how climate has changed in the past, so that we may make better predictions for the future.
Catalina Gebhardt from AWI tells Geotek “The core loggers have been travelling around the globe almost continuously since their purchase, either being installed into a research vessel laboratory, or an onshore drilling site, and in-between project being shipped to/from an expeditions in their packing boxes. As activity in paleoclimate research and the study of the polar regions intensifies, AWI are increasingly running parallel coring expeditions and as a result an upgrade of the MSCL-S Number 25 was essential to ensure its longevity.”
Thanks to the upgrade, MSCL-S Number 25 can continue its service to the scientific community, and offer the ability for AWI to benefit from the very latest in new sensor technology including total and spectral natural gamma measurements. The first trip for the upgraded MSCL-S Number 25 will be to the Central Arctic on RV Polarstern in summer 2018.
If you would like to learn more about MSCL upgrades, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Contact us here.