The Ocean Drilling Program: After Five Years of Field Operations Conference Paper uri icon


  • Abstract The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) has now completed 29 internationally staffed expeditions and five years of scientific ocean drilling. JOIDES Resolution, the scientific drillship of ODP, has travelled in the Atlantic, eastern and northwest Pacific, and Indian oceans, including high latitude zones bordering East and West Antarctica, and the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Weddell, Sulu, Celebes, Philippine and Japan seas, in search of answers to important scientific problems designated by the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES). These scientific objectives relate to the tectonic evolution of passive and active continental margins, origin and evolution of oceanic crust, origin and evolution of marineedimentary sequences, and paleoceanography. In addition, ODP has continued modification and reliability of existing coring systems as well as made numerous advances in technology to improve the capture of scientific information. During its fifth year, the ODP has completed pioneering exploration in the Northwest Pacific Ocean and adjacent seas. Leg 124E, in the Philippine Sea, was our first cruise dedicated to engineering development. Legs 125 and 126 were a two cruise effort designed to study, amongst other important problems, the geological processes involved in thedevelopment of the Bonin and Marianas arcs. Legs 127 and 128 were dedicated to study the tectonics and sedimentation history of the Japan Sea. Leg 129 commenced after a dry dock period of JOIDESResolution, to study the oldest Pacific crust in Pigafetta and east Mariana basins in the Western Pacific. This paper focuses on ODP's scientific successes of five years of scientific ocean drilling and discusses areas of future study. Introduction The Ocean Drilling Program, 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. The mission of ODP is to learn how Earth has evolved with time. To do this, sediment and hard rock samples are retrieved from beneath the deep-sea floor to study evolution of ocean basins, evolution of prehistoric life, evolution of past ocean current and paleoclimates. 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) ODP commenced its field operations with a shakedown and sea trials cruise in January 1985 in the Gulf of Mexico1. About every two months since that time, an internationally staffed expedition of our drilling research vessel, the SEDCOIBP 471, better known to the scientific community as the JOIDES Resolution (Figure 1), has taken place in very remote but geologically important areas of the world's oceans. Each expedition carries a scientific and technical complement of 51 persons as well as a ship's crew and drilling complement of about 60 persons. The ship, as of cruise 129 (January 1990), has operated at 175 sites in the north Atlantic Ocean, in the eastern and northwest Pacific Ocean, in the Weddell Sea and Prydz Bay off Antarctica and in the Indian Ocean (Figure 2).

name of conference

  • Offshore Technology Conference

published proceedings

  • All Days

author list (cited authors)

  • Rabinowitz, P. O., Garrison, L. E., Baldauf, J. G., Harding, B. W., McPherson, R. G., Merrill, A. B., Meyer, A. W., & Olivas, R. E

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Rabinowitz, PO||Garrison, LE||Baldauf, JG||Harding, BW||McPherson, RG||Merrill, AB||Meyer, AW||Olivas, RE

publication date

  • May 1990


  • OTC  Publisher