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- (inserted: 11.12.2010 22:00)
The storm continues and reached a peak today with extremely ...The storm continues and reached a peak today with extremely strong winds and sandstorms. During the night, the makeshift pier (uni-floats) was blown apart by the wind. The weather is expected to continue like this at least until tomorrow afternoon, although the Dead Sea has its own unique meteorological system that does not behave like the rest of the country. So far, no flooding, which is good news. The laboratory was also covered in a thin layer of sand as it is impossible to keep it out. The logging team decided to take a day trip south - the Timna mines, Eilat and possibly Mitzpe Ramon. The drillers left at about 13:00 as well for a short visit south.
- (inserted: 10.12.2010 22:00)
The storm continues. High winds caused a big dust storm ...The storm continues. High winds caused a big dust storm while we were out on a geological excursion, giving our logging team the real desert experience. Nicolas to us to the section on land that is comparable to the 450 m we are drilling in the lake. It will be interesting to compare the two sections in the end. The drillers are anxious to get back to work. We are a little worried about salt buildup on the drill string seeing as it is sitting there without being turned and hope that the pipes will not stick and come up easily.
- (inserted: 09.12.2010 22:00)
Day shift went out as usual to continue logging. We ...Day shift went out as usual to continue logging. We are expecting a very big storm and they are predicting 100 km/h winds on the Dead Sea. Our head of marine operations, Gideon Amit, called everyone back from the platform, both loggers and drillers, as a safety precaution. Everyone is waiting to see how this develops and hope that it will not present much of a delay.
- (inserted: 08.12.2010 22:00)
The Weather has been acting up lately. Strong winds left ...The Weather has been acting up lately. Strong winds left the drilling crew's night shift stranded for about 26 hours. They are back and loggers went out, but may also be stuck. Gamma ray measurements were completed, but they ran into a bit of trouble when they started to trip up the drilling pipe.
- (inserted: 06.12.2010 22:00)
Drilling operations have stopped! The bit is too worn out ...Drilling operations have stopped! The bit is too worn out (drillers) or clogged (Moti) to continue. No science crew went out this morning. The loggers are arriving tonight and will begin work tomorrow. Depth at the close of yesterday's night shift (December 6th) was 455.48 beneath the lake floor.
- (inserted: 05.12.2010 22:00)
Coring has been going slow lately. The drillers think that ...Coring has been going slow lately. The drillers think that the Alien tool is worn out. However, Moti has suggested that perhaps it is just the hard clay layer we are coring through at the moment - it could be clogging up the tool and blocking it. The logging team will arrive tomorrow evening and a decision will have to be made whether to continue at this slow pace and hope to penetrate through this layer, or to pull out of the hole and begin logging. Yesterday's day shift pulled up a little more than 3 meters in total. Steve called to say that they had penetrated wood, which was probably washed into the lake during a flood some 400,000 years ago. The weather was a bit stormy last night and this morning. Drilling was postponed until the winds died down. Although it looks calm, the Dead Sea can be a very nasty place. The weather can turn within a few minutes and the water can get pretty rough. Due to the extra density and weight that each wave caries (an additional 30%), they can pack quite a punch!
- (inserted: 01.12.2010 22:00)
Close to 400 meters. Drilling continues last night as levels ...Close to 400 meters. Drilling continues last night as levels of H2S dropped beneath dangerous levels. The clay zones encountered are hard and it is difficult to get it out of the core-catchers. A thin gravel layer was drilled between 365 and 369 mbsf according Drilling Operations Manager Beau Marshall. Yesterday morning there was a small earthquake in the northern Dead Sea (3.5 om the Richter Scale) not too far from the drilling site.
- (inserted: 30.11.2010 22:00)
We're at about 350 meters beneath the lake bed. Still ...We're at about 350 meters beneath the lake bed. Still having problems with the drilling mud. The drillers have cut back to four cups per tank (they used about 10-16 cups in Lake Van!). Even at this amount, it is turning hard quickly. Ein Gedi Emergency Rescue Team conducted a drill yesterday and tested their equipment. All is good. We lost our laptop on the drilling rig when coffee was accidentally spilled on it. Another setback tonight - near the end of the day shift, the H2S monitor went off-scale. Operations were suspended while we look to bring in an expert for advice.
- (inserted: 29.11.2010 22:00)
A little about the logistics of this project. The Dead ...A little about the logistics of this project. The Dead Sea is located about an hours drive from Jerusalem. On the one hand, this is convenient. If something is needed, it can be bought easily enough. On the other hand, it is not like other projects where the teams are flown in, driven to some remote place and are there for the duration of the project. The rig is located some 8 km from the shore (in a north-east direction). It takes our support vessel, the Taglit, almost an hour each way to reach it. This causes some problems with the meal schedule, but for the most part, the people in the Ein Gedi guest house are more than obliging. In fact, they have been really supportive and it is a pleasure to work with them. Despite some technical problems, the rate of coring is impressive and everybody is in a good mood.
- (inserted: 28.11.2010 22:00)
We have reached a depth of 300m! There have been ...We have reached a depth of 300m! There have been some slow downs due to hard salt layers and problems with the drilling mud. Apparently, the guar gum reacts too well with the hypersaline water of the Dead Sea and even small amount turn solid quickly. We have a few geochemists working on the problem. The cores coming out have been interesting to say the least. At the top of the picture above you can see a smaller core. It is full of gravel. Not salt, but actual gravel. While this does not mean that the lake dried out, it does imply that the shore was EXTREMELY close to where we are drilling at some time in the distant past. The "wavy" salt patterns in the middle core (the core beneath the one Lisa is holding) could indicate salt flow. Despite some problems and setbacks, the overall feeling is optimistic and positive. This project has been getting amazing press coverage in the local, as well as the foreign media. More updates will follow.
- (inserted: 21.11.2010 22:00)
The first part of the day went well and recovery ...The first part of the day went well and recovery was pretty good. After a while, a thick (estimated by the driller to be around 50 cm), hard layer of salt was encountered. The piston core could not penetrate it so they brought out the "Alien" - their custom made rotary bit. While it managed to drill through the salt, recovery of the layer and the material beneath it was lost. Switched again the piston and recovery increased in the muds to 100%. The night shift also encountered hard salt, interlaced with marls. We will wait for the report from today's day shift. The second day of the kickoff meeting was held today with most of the foreign PIs on the project attending.
- (inserted: 16.11.2010 22:00)
The rig is together, but we have run into a ...The rig is together, but we have run into a few delays due to some problems with the motor. If all is well, we can tow to site. Drilling will then either begin with the Thursday's night shift or Friday's morning shift. The weather is good and everybody is itching to get started.