Piston Corer

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This animation illustrates the launch and recovery of a new seafloor sampling system, expected to be complete and in use in 2007. It is currently under construction at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The animation is narrated by James Broda, a researcher who has worked designing and engineering cores at WHOI since 1980.

The corer will penetrate up to 150 feet into the ocean bottom and weigh about 25,000 pounds.

The piston corer will be among the longest and heaviest of its type in the world, Broda said. He identified a corer of similar length and weight used by French oceanographers as a successful coring system in use today.

The new WHOI piston corer will act like a giant probe, plunging into the seafloor and collecting mud in its hollow open pipe. A seal on the bottom of the device will retain the sediment sample during retrieval, capturing for scientists a time capsule that, in some cases, can span the past hundreds of thousands and even millions of years. (Animation by Jack Cook, WHOI)