Amy West

  The wind whipping around from Tropical Storm Fung-Wong makes it challenging to write outdoors. I know–what kind of complaint is that? But after severely reduced physical activity for eight weeks on this ship, sitting in front of a computer sends the sit bones into spasms. Plus the wind puts the constantly whirring thrusters into...

When trying to keep up with conversations that throw around words like ‘hyaloclastites’, ‘orthopyroxenes’, or ‘slickensides’ it feels as if I’ve tripped and tumbled into a language course without a study guide. Though definitions may be at my fingertips, tracking them down can quickly turn into a ‘Deeper Definition Dilemma’. I call it my 3D...

It is sadly possible to be in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight and not see the ocean, or know when day turns to night. With 24-hour operations aboard the JOIDES Resolution, and most of us splitting each day by working a 12-12 shift, the natural cutoff to a day is...

When I witness adults cooing over Eocene-era rocks, or tasting 15 million-year-old ocean sediments, I instantly wonder what their childhood was like. Were they kids that didn’t want to leave the sandbox after recess? Were they shy and looked at the ground more than they looked at the sky? Why curiosity for inanimate objects over,...

Rocking lazily in the gentle swell as our floating country of 113 people steams out to the first drill site offers me time to recollect what it takes to finally pull out of port. Stepping aboard this 471-foot ocean drill ship, which flies a Cyprus flag, are 30 scientists hailing from countries such as France,...

If you thought nine months was long, consider watching over your eggs for four and half years—only to die at the end. A deep-sea octopus, Graneledone boreopacifica, has set a new record for brooding stamina—53 months, the longest developmental period known for any organism, according to a study published July 30 in the journal PLOS ONE....

Imagine two, 60-mile-thick slabs of rock running into each other. Which gives first and why? This is what happens when two oceanic plates go head to head, and one must buckle down, or subduct into a trench. In the western Pacific Ocean south of Japan, this is thought to have first occurred 52 million years...