What is IODP?

IODP (http://www.iodp.org) aims to solve global scientific problems by taking continuous core at a great variety of sites in the world’s oceans. It is the world’s largest multinational geoscience program and includes almost all OECD countries. IODP carries out deep scientific coring in all the world’s oceans using a variety of platforms, and provides ‘ground truthing’ of scientific theories that are often based largely on remote sensing techniques. New technologies and concepts in geoscience are continuously being developed through IODP. Its key research areas, as described in the IODP Science Plan for 2013-2023, are:

  • Climate and Ocean Change: reading the past, informing the future,
  • Biosphere frontiers: Deep life, biodiversity, and environmental forcing of systems
  • Earth connections: deep processes and their impact on Earth’s surface environment
  • Earth in motion: processes and hazards on human time scales

The primary tools are Japanese (Chikyu) and American (JOIDES Resolution) coring vessels that are dynamically positioned. Chikyu can drill in water up to 2500 deep, up to 8000 m below the sea floor, and in areas of overpressured sediments or where there is a risk of striking hydrocarbons. JOIDES Resolution can drill in water up to 7000 deep and up to 2000 m below the sea floor, but not in areas of overpressured sediments and where there is a risk of striking hydrocarbons. European Union funds charter coring platforms to drill in locations or for purposes for which the primary vessels are not suitable. Unsuitable locations include the Arctic Ocean, where ice breaking capability is needed, and in water depths of less than 100 metres, for which floating vessels are not suitable. Cores from the various expeditions are studied by scientists around the world and stored in specialised core repositories for long-term use.