Australasian IODP Regional Planning Workshop, June 2017

Workshop report, outcomes and publications:

The Final Report from the Australasian IODP Regional Planning Workshop in Sydney is now complete.  We would like to thank the workshop convenors and participants for their contributions, especially Rob McKay who has taken the lead in compiling this report. The workshop was universally regarded by the 100 participants as very timely and worthwhile, and we expect that by April 2018 it will trigger at least a dozen pre-proposals for globally significant scientific drilling in the region. A summary report will be submitted to Scientific Drilling in October 2017.

Australasian IODP Regional Planning Workshop -Final Report

Consensus statement on need for site survey data for IODP


Dates: June 13-16, 2017

Location: Sydney University

Workshop Conveners: Neville Exon (Australian National University), Karsten Gohl (Alfred Wegener Institut), Michael Gurnis (California Institute of Technology), Stuart Henrys (GNS Science, Wellington), Fumio Inagaki (JAMSTEC), Rob McKay (Victoria University, Wellington), Dietmar Mueller (University of Sydney, Conference Host), Dhananjai Pandey (NCAOR, India), Amelia Shevenell (University of South Florida), and Jessica Whiteside (University of Southampton, UK).

The workshop will encompass all four themes of the IODP 2013-2023 Science Plan. The Theme Coordinators are

  • Climate and Ocean Change: Tim Naish (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Tina van de Flierdt (Imperial College, London).
  • Biosphere Frontiers: Steven D’Hondt University of Rhode Island, USA), Verena Heuer (MARUM, Germany).
  • Earth Connections: Mike Coffin (University of Tasmania, Australia), Marguerite Godard (Géosciences Montpellier)
  • Earth in Motion: Laura Wallace (GNS Science, New Zealand), Shuichi Kodaira (JAMSTEC, Japan)

The Australasian Workshop draft plan  is available for consideration and will be updated should changes be necessary.

Deadline for ANZIC Scientists to apply: April 10, 2017 or contact the ANZIC Office for more information


The geographic scope of the Australasian Workshop is the eastern Indian Ocean, the southwest Pacific Ocean, and the Indian and Pacific sectors of the Southern Ocean. The importance of the southern hemisphere in the narratives of global plate tectonics and oceanography is well established, but under-studied. Simply stated, the Australasian region is arguably the ideal region to address many of the fourteen science challenges: the Australian and Indian continents have undergone the largest and most rapid paleo-latitudinal shifts – essential to address both paleoclimate and tectonic questions; the region boasts arguably the greatest diversity of subduction zones from fully seismically coupled to uncoupled; the greatest array of youthful subduction zones globally; an extensive set of shallow marine seas and submerged continents (especially Zealandia) with extraordinary stratigraphic records waiting to be studied; and not only the largest suite of plume-related products but also the largest mantle cold spot.

Without a doubt, another round of IODP drilling within Australasia will dramatically improve our understanding of our planet’s evolution. Sampling of plateaus and ridges will not only provide an enormous wealth of information about their origin, but will also provide key samples to address paleoceanographic and paleoclimate questions. Further drilling of the Antarctic margin will increase our understanding of global and regional questions related to Antarctic ice sheet and global climate evolution as well as past land and sea ice extent from the Cretaceous through the Cenozoic.

Geomicrobiological questions can be addressed on a number of expeditions, including carefully targeted, dominantly microbiological expeditions to study the deep biosphere in a variety of tectonic settings. Petrological and geochemical studies of ocean, backarc and arc crust, and of uplifted mantle remain a high priority, as do those of geological hazards.

The goal of the Australasian workshop is to trigger development of new IODP proposals and reinvigorate existing, compelling proposals. The workshop will be an opportunity to entrain a new generation of early career scientists to work collaboratively to plan a new phase of scientific ocean drilling in the Australasian region. The workshop will cover all possible IODP platforms, not just the JOIDES Resolution, which needs good regional proposals to have it return to this region in 2022, a date that is pencilled in to the ship’s long-term schedule. European-funded alternative platforms are suitable for work in shallow-water areas and on the Antarctic continental shelf. There is considerable optimism that IODP Proposal 871, for the use of the Chikyu to drill deep into the Cretaceous on the Lord Howe Rise, will come to fruition in 2020 and provide strong encouragement for those hoping to use the Chikyu elsewhere in the Australasian region.

ANZIC Arrangements

There is clearly a practical limit to the size of such a workshop, and we hope to have about 80 participants, with somewhat less than half that number from Australia and New Zealand. There is the necessary interest and adequate funding to ensure that most key international and ANZIC participants will be present.

We need ANZIC scientists at the workshop who have expertise that will be useful in building proposals, both in terms of the specialities and the regions. In essence, we at ANZIC regard this as a planning workshop and not a training workshop, and our funding will support those who can show that they can provide concrete ideas for revising existing proposals or building new ones. The range of successful applicants is expected to cover all parts of the scientific spectrum in terms of experience. All participants will have to apply to attend by returning a completed application to  by APRIL 10th 2017.

We very much hope that there will be strong contingents from Sydney University, Macquarie University, University of NSW, and the University of Wollongong, but we will only consider funding travel for scientists from other areas. That funding is limited, so we would be very grateful if those who could fund their involvement or part-involvement from other sources offer to do so, and we already have a number of key people who have offered to fund themselves. In the initial program there are about a dozen scientists who have been asked to attend and many of them will need ANZIC funding. At this stage, we imagine that we will be able to fund the attendance of another 15-20 scientists in part or in full.

ANZIC decisions on applicants will be made by a small workshop sub-committee, in discussion with the other convenors and the theme coordinators, as set out below. This will enable us to balance scientists with expertise in the different oceans and covering IODP’s four different themes (see for more information).