Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 19 Issue 04

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Volume 19, No. 4
Pages 39 - 39


Foul Stench on Leg 182 in the Great Australian Bight

Albert C. Hine David Feary
First Paragraph

Early one morning soon after commencing Leg 182 drilling, the Drilling Superintendent informed the Co-Chief Scientists, David Feary and Al Hine, that there was an H2S emergency, and he had to shut down all drilling operations. What a kidder! What a jokester! We needed some levity, and perhaps this was his idea of a prank? “No, really! We have exceeded the safe level of H2S and all drilling has been stopped,” he said in all seriousness. We were invited to see for ourselves, or more appropriately, smell for ourselves. So, we left the safe confines of the Co-Chiefs’ office and headed aft. Sure enough, the drilling rig floor, the catwalk, and main lab reeked of rotten eggs or worse. Even the H2S sensors had gone off scale. As well as smelling nasty, H2S is a poisonous gas that can kill if it’s at a high-enough concentration. The gassy sediment-filled core liners blew their caps off at both ends, and the 156,000 ppm measured was the highest H2S concentration ever recorded on an ODP leg. H2S and the drilling business is serious stuff—there was to be no more drilling until we could sort this out. The success of the leg hung in the balance.


Hine, A.C., and D. Feary. 2006. Foul stench on Leg 182 in the Great Australian Bight. Oceanography 19(4):39, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.17.

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