Program Update: Integrated Ocean Drilling Program – January 2013
The JOIDES Resolution continued Expedition 345 (Hess Deep Plutonic Crust) this month. Drilling operations are focused on a large, craggy underwater rift valley near the Galapágos Islands known as Hess Deep. Here, the complex tectonic activity of the Pacific, Cocos and Nazca Plates has peeled away the layers of the ocean’s crust relatively quickly, revealing young layers of deep plutonic crust that are difficult to access anywhere else. Hess Deep provides the best opportunity to test competing hypotheses about how magma gathers near the upper mantle to form fast-spreading oceanic crust. The team has worked to retrieve a relatively continuous section of gabbro – igneous rock formed when magma cools within the crust. Such a core should hold clues about how melt is transported from the mantle through the lower crust and how heat is lost from deeper crustal layers. For more information, see the Expedition 345 website.
Late this month, the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC) held its winter 2012 meeting in Gainesville, Florida. During the three-day meeting, USAC discussed U.S. participation in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and provided Ocean Leadership staff with fresh perspectives on education and communication opportunities. USAC also reviewed recent workshop proposals and Schlanger Ocean Drilling Fellowship applications. USAC’s summer 2013 meeting will be in Washington, D.C.