August 31, 2008
We have five international research scientists on the science team who are here as part of the "GEBCO" (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans) training program in deepsea bathymetry at the University of New Hampshire. GEBCO is a century-old international organization whose overriding mission has been to collect data on ocean seafloor features (bathymetric data). Currently, they are working to develop a very detailed and comprehensive world-wide digital picture of the ocean basins (sort of like Google Earth) to be made available to everyone. Three years ago, the Nippon Foundation in Japan provided funding to GEBCO for scientists and graduate level students from other countries to come to CCOM at the University of New Hampshire to work with Larry Mayer and others, taking coursework on seafloor mapping and participating in field-based research such as this cruise on the Healy. After a very rigorous one-year course of study, these scientists return to their home countries and apply what they have learned to their own research work. I thought today I'd share a little about each of these folks.
Priyantha Jindasa is from Sri Lanka, where he works as a marine geologist. Priyantha's work back home specializes in the formation, detection, and utilization of heavy mineral deposits, which can be economically important as raw materials for things like paint, radioactive uses, and lightweight construction parts for aircraft. He says he has really enjoyed the experience, and is looking forward to going home to his wife and 1 1/2 year old son.
Rochelle Wigley comes from Cape Town, South Africa. She works for the Council for Geosciences marine unit, where she specializes in the fields of sedimentology and the law of the sea. She was very excited to join the GEBCO group and learn about ocean mapping science, which will compliment her work when she returns home. She is excited to have a little time to explore Alaska and Colorado before heading back to Cape Town.
Like Rochelle, Neil Tinmouth also comes from South Africa, but from the city of Durban, where he is completing his Master's Degree in estuarine sedimentology and geomorphology. Neil has learned a great deal from his stay here, and loves the experience in coming to the Arctic; he hopes to return again someday. Once finished with the Healy mission, he and Rochelle will travel for a bit through Alaska and Seattle, before he returns to South Africa. Neil hopes that after finishing his Master's, he will be able to secure geological survey work in Holland.
Daniela Goncalves comes to the U.S. from the coastal town of Aveiro, Portugal. Having recently finished her degree in geological engineering, Daniela currently works at the University of Aveiro, where she plans to return after her Healy experience to do research on mud volcanoes and other projects. Daniela says that she has learned a great deal working with Larry and others, and also is happy that her English has improved so much. Daniela has enjoyed the "magical landscape" of the Arctic, and is looking forward to being home again to share her experiences with her family and friends.
Koji Ito is from Tokyo Japan. He works for the Japan Coast Guard, in the hydrographic and oceanographic department. His area of specialty is in topographic survey work and research on submarine volcanoes and active fault systems. When I asked Koji about his impressions of coming to the Arctic, he told me "I can't believe it is summer right now." I think Koji is looking forward to returning to the warmer Tokyo summer climate!