International Conference on Gas Hydrates (ICGH) (6th : 2008)

Compact Multipurpose sub-sampling and processing of in-situ cores with PRESS (Pressurized Core Sub-sampling and Extrusion System). Anders, Erik; Müller, Wolfgang H.


Understanding the deep biosphere is of great commercial and scientific interest and will contri-bute to increased knowledge of the environment. If environmentally relevant results are to be ob-tained the precondition to achieve genuine findings is research in pristine habitat as close as pos-sible to those encountered in-situ. Therefore benthic conditions of sediment structure and gas hydrates, temperature, pressure and bio-geochemistry have to be maintained during the sequences of sampling, retrieval, transfer, sto-rage and downstream analysis. At the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB) the Pressurized Core Sub-Sampling and Extrusion System (PRESS) was developed in the EU project HYACE/HYACINTH. It enables well-defined sectioning and transfer of drilled pressure-cores [obtained by HYACE Rotary Corer (HRC) and Fugro Pressure Corer (FPC)] into transportation and investigation chambers. Coupled with DeepIsoBUG (University Cardiff, John Parkes) it allows sub-sampling and incubation of coaxial core-sections to examine high-pressure adapted bacteria or remote biogeochemical processes in defined research conditions of the laboratory; all sterile, anaerobic and without depressurisation. Appraisals of successful PRESS deployments in the Gulf of Mexico, on IODP Expedition 311 and as part of the NGHP expedition 01 demonstrate the general concept to be feasible and useful. Aided by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) TUB is currently working on concepts to downscale the system in order to reduce logistical and financial expenses and, likewise, to enlarge its implementation by requiring less operating space. Redesigning the cutting mechanism shall simultaneously adjust the system to harder cores (e.g., ICDP). Novel transportation chambers for processed sub-samples intend to make the system more attractive for a broad spectrum of users and reduce their interdependence.

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