PACIFIC OCEAN, approximately 800 km west of Costa Rica¡ªAn international team of scientists aboard the research drilling ship JOIDES Resolution has¡--for the first time¡--recovered black rocks known as gabbros from intact ocean crust. Supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), the scientists drilled through the volcanic rock that forms the Earths crust to reach a fossil magma chamber lying 1.4 kilometers beneath the seafloor.
"By sampling a complete section of the upper oceanic crust, weve achieved a goal scientists have pursued for over 40 years, since the days of Project MoHole," says Damon Teagle, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, UK, and co-chief scientist of this drilling expedition. "Our accomplishment will ultimately help science answer the important question, how is new ocean crust formed?"
Formation of ocean crust is a key process in the cycle of plate tectonics; it constantly repaves the Earths surface, builds mountains, and leads to earthquakes and volcanoes. Project MoHole, begun in the 1950s, aimed to drill all the way through the ocean crust, into the Earths mantle.
Nancy Light | EurekAlert!
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