We are facing amplified global warming since the 1970s, a rising sea level, regional climate shifts, and extreme climate events that severely impact the human habitat. Thus, we have an obligation to conduct research that provides an understanding of present and past variations in regional and global climate.
The factors that control the abundance and activities of microbes at depth and the lower depth limit of life are still poorly understood. There is only a very limited number of boreholes with a focus on the Deep Biosphere.
Each day extraterrestrial matter collides with Earth. Throughout Earth's history, giant impacts created wide craters and devastations affecting the whole planet. These events may have wiped out major portions of the fauna and flora on the Earth. Still, large impacts are the fastest geological events creating new ground for evolution.
Volcanic eruptions may contribute to global climate change by changing the Earth's atmosphere. This can either be warming of the atmosphere through gases such as CO2, or global cooling through suspended volcanic particles. Understanding the interplay between volcanic activities and climate variations requires knowledge of both volcanic and climate history.
Bacteria, viruses and archaea dwell at depths to several thousand meters below ground and in temperatures of more than 120° C. With their metabolism they contribute to the generation of carbohydrates and mineral resources. These rich ecosystems are studied by scientific drilling.
Inside the Earth there is heat so intense that it melts rock and drives tectonic processes and planetary differentiation. Geothermal energy can be tapped from the Earth's natural heat at volcanoes or mantle plumes. Holes drilled into a subsurface geothermal system, or in volcanic areas, can drive turbines and generate electrical power.
Active faulting is by far the most common earthquake-generating process. However, little is known on fault processes. Only deep drilling provides access to seismogenic zones for monitoring and to retrieve samples from there.
Volcanic eruptions are one of Earth's most dramatic and violent agents of change. Powerful explosive eruptions can drastically alter land and water for tens of kilometers around a volcano. Some volcanoes exhibit precursory unrest that if detected, (e.g. by drilling), and analyzed in time allows eruptions to be anticipated.
Currently ca. 170 impact craters are known on Earth; about one third of those structures are not exposed on the surface, and can only be studied by geophysics or drilling. Drill cores yield information on the subsurface structures, and provide ground-truth for geophysical studies.
Plate margins are areas where the most life-threatening geological phenomena occurs. Accompanying ocean-margin geohazards include tsunamis, landslides, powerful volcanic eruptions, and other threats. Scientific drilling has a high potential for risk-mitigation studies, and must be an integral and indispensable part of this effort.
This third ICDP Science Plan came about by engaging the international science community and it lays out some of the big open questions that confront the earth sciences. It suggests ways to answer these questions by scientific drilling. Read more
Drilling the Cretaceous Songliao Basin in China
Scientific Drilling in full swing
Spud in of the Continental Scientific Drilling Project of Cretaceous Songliao Basin (DPCSB), the deepest targeted ICDP co-funded project, was on April 13, 2014 using the new Chinese rig “Crust-I” with 10 km depth capacity. Read more
Call to apply for a joint IODP-ICDP expedition now openApril 09, 2015
IODP Expedition 364: Chicxulub Impact Crater
Applications who want to apply for this Joint IODP-ICDP Mission Specific Platform Expedition should contact IODP member offices no later than Friday 8th May 2015; shortlisted candidates will be considered by ESO in June 2015. Look here for details.
Nineteen scientists met in early November 2014 at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam, Germany, with support from the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) and ICDP to discuss targeting previously unexplored, yet globally significant, deep-life habitats and biomes (Onstott, T. C., and T. L. Kieft (2015), Developing deep-life continental drilling projects, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO024937).
AGU 2015 Spring Meeting in Montréal December 18, 2014
May 3-7, 2015 in Montréal, Canada
The next AGU-GAC-MAC-CGU joint assembly will be held in Montréal – 3-7 May 2015. You are kindly invited to join the session
Exploring the subsurface through Scientific Drilling: contributions from ICDP and IODP
Drilling explorations in the oceans and on the continents provide means to tackle challenging geoscientific themes of socio-economic relevance such as long-term climate and environmental changes, earthquakes and volcanism, or unconventional energy resources. By monitoring, drilling, sampling, and analyzing the subsurface at locations where critical questions can best be approached, the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) and the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) are the key for advances in the understanding of our planet. This interdisciplinary session invites presentations on recent, ongoing and future IODP/ICDP projects of all kind and from everywhere. It seeks contributions presenting results arising from scientific drilling, new methods applicable to such efforts and new interdisciplinary approaches to interpret deep and hidden archives accessible only by drilling.