Ocean Drilling Program

The year 2000 saw Ireland, through the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) with the Marine Institute and Enterprise Ireland, becoming a member of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) by joining the European Science Foundation Consortium for Ocean Drilling (ECOD).

The ODP is international and quite distinct from the GSI's Seabed Project. It has been running since 1985 as the successor to the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) that began almost 35 years ago. In contrast with DSDP, which in the infancy of plate-tectonics was largely exploratory and looked to see 'what is there', ODP projects represent a more focused study of oceanic basins and their margins. High priority has been given to testing models of global tectonics, climate change and sea level variations, and a series of borehole laboratories has been used to monitor fluid fluxes, crustal stress and global seismicity. The final phase of the ODP, ending in September 2003, is concerned with a better understanding of tectonic processes that shape oceans and continents, including erosion of continents and climate change.

The successor to the ODP will be the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), to run until 2013. Objectives of the Initial Science Plan cover 'Earth, oceans and life: scientific challenges in studying the planet Earth system using new drilling technologies and multiple platforms'. The European Science Foundation (ESF) has identified specific initiatives for Europe, namely, 1, Deep biosphere; bacterial extremophiles; 2, Gas hydrates; 3, Arctic Ocean, including change from warm greenhouse conditions to ice-covered ocean; 4, Deep water rifted margins and fans - develop models with industry for hydrocarbon charge and reservoir characterization; 5, Tectonic processes and fluid pathways - drilling in seismically active areas combined with use of sea floor observatories.


Those interested should consult the various ODP websites the main one being http://www-odp.tamu.edu.Formal application details will be found at http://www.joides.geomar.de/proposals/index and formal proposals formatted in the prescribed manner should be submitted to odp.proposals@geomar.de. Annual deadlines for receipt of proposals are 15th March and 1st October.

The GSI will be as supportive as possible to those willing and able to submit proposals.

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