Scientists Maurice Ewing (bottom) and Dick Edwards rig a core from the research vessel Atlantis in 1949, not long after the first piston corer was developed. Ewing's piston coring designs remain popular on current corers in use. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Piston cores can stretch many feet in length. The longer the core, the better access scientists have to deeper, older, fine-grained deposits on the seafloor. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Researchers launch an 80-foot "jumbo" piston corer from the United States Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. (Jim Broda)
When not in use, a piston corer on board the icebreaking vessel Healy is secured to supports on the deck. (Jim Broda)
At this stage, the piston core is in a vertical position as crew work on further rigging to lower it to the seafloor.
Next, they readied the pilot core (on deck), which is used in tandem with the piston corer. This 500-pound instrument counter balances the weight of the piston corer, and it also helps release the piston corer once on the seafloor. Like the piston corer, it is carefully raised and lowered over the side of the ship. (Jim Broda)
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