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Scientist Laura Robinson has to strain her arm muscles to hold this large sample of fossil Desmophyllum cristagalli on fossil Gorgonian coral, from yesterday's Alvin dive. The corals are covered in black manganese crust, while the white portions are the calcium carbonate underneath. Those CaCO3 ends of the Gorgonians show where this sample broke apart when Alvin reached the surface. When the collection basket is full and the samples are large, that's always a risk.

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The scientists looked at this graph countless times as the cruise went on. It shows the number of fossils that were collected at each depth in the ocean, separated according to Manning and Muir seamounts. Each day Alvin came back with more fossil corals, new bars were added and old bars were extended. Despite the fact we had one-third of our dives cancelled due to weather and mechanical problems, this graph testifies to the cruise’s remarkable success in filling out almost the entire depth range. In a meeting with his group earlier this spring, Chief Scientist Jess Adkins said 2,000 samples would be “awesome.” They'll be going home with around 3,500.

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