The scientific community envisions that this program will succeed the current Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), which ends in 2013. The outcome of the Bremen meeting will result in a new science plan, enabling scientific ocean drilling to take on a central role in environmental understanding and stewardship of our planet in the 21st century.
"This is a truly historic meeting", said the IODP vice-president Hans Christian Larsen. "Never before have so many scientists from the ocean drilling community met in one place. We were especially pleased to see so many young scientists – these researchers represent the next generation who will lead the new ocean drilling programme, which is expected to start in 2013."
The 600 scientists attending the meeting discussed both established and new research fields, such as the co-evolution of life and the planet, processes in the Earth's core and mantle, climate change, and new approaches to capture and store the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's crust. Potential predictability of geohazards such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis were also addressed, in part linked to development of sub-seafloor laboratories as much as 6 km deep into the seabed.
Ocean drilling has already revealed many exciting discoveries such as confirmation of microbial life up to 1,600 metres below the seafloor in rocks as old as 111 million years. Scientists have now started to explore this 'deep biosphere', which may have a biomass equal to that of the tropical rain forest. But many critical questions remain unanswered: How did these ecosystems develop? Can they tell us about the potential for life on other planets? Can marine microbial communities play a role in the development of new biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals?
During his plenary talk, Alan Mix of Oregon State University pointed out that the current level of CO2 injection into Earth's atmosphere soon will bring the CO2 concentration to a level not seen for many million of years and on par with that of severe greenhouse conditions of the geological past. Only ocean drilling can provide records of the environment that ruled during these warm episodes during Earth's history, and investigate the true sensitivity of the climate to changes in CO2 concentration.
Ocean research drilling started more than four decades ago as one of the most ambitious projects in the history of marine science. Since then, about 200 expeditions have been completed and more than 350 kilometres of core have been recovered, documenting a much more dynamic Earth and climate than was previously thought to exist. In recent years, IODP, using multiple drilling platforms, has drilled in extremely challenging environments, such as shallow water carbonate reef systems very sensitive to sea-level change and in the high Arctic, the last frontier area of ocean exploration on the Earth. Today, even deep drilling, up to ten kilometres beneath the drillship is possible.
These investigations have revolutionised the understanding of how the Earth works. A future ocean drilling programme will play a pivotal role in enhancing this knowledge by using new technologies and installation of permanent laboratories deep below the ocean floor. As Alan Mix told the conference participants "The beginning is now!"
Raesah Et'Tawil | EurekAlert!
In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
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21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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