The Ocean Drilling Program: Results From the Sixth Year of Field Operations Conference Paper uri icon


  • ABSTRACT The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) has completed 34 internationally staffed expeditions and six years of scientific ocean drilling in search of answers relating to the tectonic evolution of passive and active continental margins, origin and evolution of oceanic crust, origin and evolution of marine sedimentary sequences, and paleoceanography. To address these problems, ODP has made numerous advances in technology for retrieval of continuous undisturbed cores under hostile environmental conditions. ODP curates over 150 km of cored material and associated scientific data bases and publishes results of the scientific expeditions in a continuous series of Proceedings volumes. During its sixth year, ODP has completed pioneering exploration in the western Pacific Ocean. Leg 130 recovered 4800 m of core, the most ever up to that point in time, in order to gain new insight into the evolution of global ocean dynamics and climate during the past 25 million years and the origin and tectonic history of the world's largest oceanic plateau -- the Ontong Java Plateau. Leg 131 studied the initial step in the process of mountain building and continental crustal growth by coring the toe of the Nankai Trough accretionary prism. Leg 132 was the second engineering cruise planned to test new drilling technology, in particular the diamond coring system, necessary to achieve the scientific objectives of ODP. Leg 133 broke the Leg 130 core recovery record by retrieving 5505 m of material over the platforms and basins of northeast Australia. Leg 134 drilled at seven sites in order to study collision of an aseismic ridge and a guyot with an island arc in the vicinity of the Vanuatu area. Future cruises include, amongst others, the Lau Basin on Leg 135, a hole for future Ocean Seismographic Network experiments off Hawaii on Leg 136, cleaning and continued coring of Hole 5048 off the Galapagos on Leg 137, an East Equatorial Pacific paleoceanographic transect on Leg 138, coring of sedimented ridges in the northern Juan de Fuca Ridge area on Leg 139 and, if possible, further efforts at the Hole 5048 (or Hess Deep) on Leg 140. This paper focuses on ODP's scientific and technical achievements during its sixth year of field operations and discusses areas of future study. Introduction The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), an international basic research program of scientific ocean drilling, is the successor program to the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) with Texas A&M University as the science operator. ODP is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation with major contributions from 18 non-U.S. countries. This international partnership is called the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES). To date, JOIDES Resolution (Figure I), the scientific drillship of ODP has retrieved sediment and hard rock samples from beneath the deep sea floor at 217 sites (Table 1) in search of answers to important scientific problems designated by JOIDES. These sites are located in the Atlantic, eastern and western Pacific, and Indian oceans, including high latitude zones bordering East and West Antarctica, and Baffin Bay, the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Norwegian, Sulu, Celebes, Philippine, Japan and Coral seas. Thus far, approximately 832 scientists from around the world(Figure 2) have participated in cruises and brought over 325,000 individual core samples home to their respective institutions for further study.

name of conference

  • Offshore Technology Conference

published proceedings

  • All Days

author list (cited authors)

  • Rabinowitz, P. D., Francis, T., Baldauf, J. G., Harding, B. W., McPherson, R. G., Merrill, R. B., Meyer, A. W., & Olivas, R. E

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Rabinowitz, PD||Francis, TJG||Baldauf, JG||Harding, BW||McPherson, RG||Merrill, RB||Meyer, AW||Olivas, RE

publication date

  • January 1991


  • OTC  Publisher