Program Update: Integrated Ocean Drilling Program – April 2012
The Chikyu embarked on Expedition 343 (Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project) on April 1. Later in the month, drilling operations set a new world record for scientific ocean drilling, surpassing the record of 7049.5 meters below the sea surface set by DSDP Leg 60 in the Marianas Trench in 1978. The drill advanced to a final depth of 7740 meters below sea surface, and successfully drilled across the fault zone into the downgoing Pacific plate. The expedition was planned in response to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and seeks to investigate the geophysical signatures left behind by that devastating event. To better understand how the fault slipped more than 50 meters, the science team will retrieve core samples and make measurements of the residual heat left behind as a result of the fault movement. For more information, please see the Expedition 343 web page.
The JOIDES Resolution concluded operations for Expedition 340 (Lesser Antilles Volcanism and Landslides) and arrived in Curaçao, Dutch Antilles on April 17. The expedition drilled several sites along the Lesser Antilles, with the goal of better understanding how volcanic island arcs originate and evolve over time. The final week of operations took place near Martinique. The goal was to investigate the underwater traces of pyroclastic flows – fast-moving, deadly mixtures of gases and rock debris – that erupted from Martinique’s Mt. Pelée. This volcano is infamous for a particularly violent eruption in 1902. The resulting pyroclastic flow killed nearly 30,000 people and entirely destroyed the town of St. Pierre, earning it the title of the deadliest volcanic disaster of the 20th century. For more information, please see the Expedition 340 web page.
The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, in association with the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), is seeking new members for the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC) and the new Science Advisory Structure (SAS) – specifically the Science Implementation and Policy Committee (SIPCOM), Proposal Evaluation Panel (PEP), Site Characterization Panel (SCP) and Technology Panel. New members will serve three-year terms beginning in October 2012. United States-based scientists interested in volunteering for these opportunities should send a cover letter and a two-page CV to Emily Powell by June 6, 2012. Letters should include your primary field of expertise, a summary of any previous committee experience, a description of your interest in scientific ocean drilling programs and your preferred panel or committee assignment. The involvement of early career scientists is strongly encouraged. For more information on these and other opportunities to participate in ocean drilling, please visit the USSSP website.