The problem with the Eemian layer is that it was deposited 125 thousand years ago and has since been buried under a thick stack of sediments laid down during the Ice Age, when the Black Sea was a large lake. Scientists know that the layer is under there, somewhere, but until now only a few research vessels have been able to recover samples of it.
Suspense built during the day as the time for coring approached. Chief scientist Gert-Jan opened bets at 20 Turkish lira (or a nightshift in the cool container) over whether or not we would find the layer. After the successes of recent days a few optimists raised their heads, but our Romanian geology expert Sliviu was more cautious... "no chance", he said with a smile.
So, around 3 pm the core finally came on deck. Eveline, Lorendz, Henk, Jan-Dirk and Gert-Jan tried their best to push the plastic core liner out of the piston corer so we could open it up and search for the Eemian layer.
In the coming days the optimists among us will get another shot at glory as we sail further from the influence of the Danube and try again to find the Eemian at deeper stations in the open Black Sea.
We'll keep you posted!