and analyzing the water column as it is now. What such an approach cannot tell
us is how sinking material changes during its (long) way through the water to
the sediment, and how the composition of the water changes over time. Sounds
boring perhaps, but very interesting for a geochemical nerd. Luckily, we brought
the equipment that can answer just those questions! Drum roll…. Ladies and
gentlemen, we bring you sediment traps!
wait a while, and then see what has been collected in the bucket. For those
interested, there is a bit more sophistication to it: at four depths, we have
placed large funnels that collect material in small bottles placed at the
bottom. With a nifty motorized system, the bottle is changed every 15 days. So,
we end up with loads of bottles telling us how sinking material changes with
depth and time. This is the stuff that eventually makes up the sediment,
basically providing the link between the water and the sediment. Incredibly
valuable information, also because the equipment itself is very, very pricy.
Throwing many thousands of euros worth of sediment traps into the deep of the
Black Sea and hope everything goes well has a nerve-racking side to
where the water was about 2 km deep. Well, ‘we’… this was really a moment where
the crew and chief scientist take centre stage: Lorendz, Jose, Fred, Jan-Dirk,
Martin, Sander, Gert and Gert-Jan worked hard all day to get an awesome construction
into the water: four large sediment traps with flow and tilt meters, all
connected by hundreds of meters of steel cables that makes everything float
around at the correct depth. And the final piece: a few large chunks of metal to
make the whole thing sink. With some difficulties, the job was done. All we can
do now is wait for about a year and hope everything went well. Let's relax for a minute!