Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Deepest ever scientific ocean drilling could hold key to understanding earthquakes

02.10.2007
One of the most ambitious earth science expeditions yet mounted to gain a better understanding of the earthquake process, has begun off the coast of Japan, involving geologists from the universities of Southampton and Leicester.

Dr Lisa McNeill, of the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science, based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, and Joanne Tudge, of the Department of Geology, University of Leicester, are taking part in the multi-disciplinary study of a 'subduction' zone off the Japanese coast, aboard the deep-sea drilling vessel Chikyu (which means 'Planet Earth' in Japanese). This is the maiden scientific voyage of this vessel, which has unique capabilities enabling it to access new regions of the Earth's crust.

Large-scale subduction earthquakes are the world's most powerful seismic events and the cause of major catastrophes, such as the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Japan, which has endured devastating earthquakes in cities such as Kobe in 1995, has made major investments in technology, including Chikyu, to learn more about seismic activity near its shores.

Lisa McNeill, a lecturer at Southampton, joins the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (or NanTroSEIZE) expedition, part of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), as a scientific participant, but will also serve as a co-chief scientist on a later phase of the experiment in 2009.

PhD student Joanne Tudge is part of the Geophysics and Borehole Research Group in the Department of Geology at Leicester, which has a long-standing history of providing logging services and expertise for the IODP. Her research focuses on interpreting data from the borehole to better understand the sediments. On this NanTroSEIZE expedition she will be working to classify the rocks and understand the physical properties of the sediments in the subduction zone.

The project is ambitious in scale - the first phase alone is the longest period of scientific ocean drilling ever attempted in one area. In the second phase, colleagues will attempt to break the scientific ocean drilling depth record by targeting a fault around 3500m below the sea floor.

During the third phase, the drill ship aims to reach the main plate boundary at 6km and place long-term monitoring tools. The experiment will take samples and install observatories to assess, for example, how strain is building up on the fault, the effects of fluid on rocks and the physical properties of sediments as they are deformed.

Dr McNeill said: 'The scale of this experiment is unprecedented and I am very excited to be taking part. This is an extremely challenging expedition but the results should give us a much greater understanding of the processes responsible for generating earthquakes and tsunami.'

The project (Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiments or NanTroSEIZE) is supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), a marine research initiative jointly funded by Japan, the United States, a consortium of European countries, the People's Republic of China, and South Korea. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) provides the UK's contribution to the IODP through ECORD (the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling).

NanTroSEIZE, and the inaugural expedition which has just begun, is led by chief project scientists Dr Harold Tobin, a marine geologist on the faculty of University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Dr Masa Kinoshita, a marine geophysicist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), a leading research institution in Japan.

The ship sailed from Japan on 21 September and the experiment can be followed at: http://www.jamstec.go.jp/chikyu/eng/CHIKYU/status.html

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk
http://www.jamstec.go.jp/chikyu/eng/CHIKYU/status.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>