Message from J-DESC regarding the future IODP



We, the members of the Japan Drilling Earth Science Consortium (J-DESC), hereby express our firm and strong hope for progressive continuation of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program beyond 2013.


As a leading participating country in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, Japan, along with the United States and European countries, has taken the initiative in deep ocean drilling since the inauguration of IODP in 2003. With just half of its first 10 years completed, IODP has already recorded many successes. Core samples have been obtained from the Arctic Ocean for the first time, new knowledge about the mechanisms of gas hydrate formation has been acquired, the history of sea-level rise has been clarified by studies of coral reefs, cores have been drilled through the upper oceanic crust, and long-term borehole monitoring of drilled holes has been initiated. As a result, IODP has been progressively accumulating many valuable data such as can only be realized by deep ocean drilling.


In 2007, Chikyu, one of three major platforms provided by Japan for the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (NanTroSEIZE), finally started full operation. During the first suite of Expeditions of NanTroSEIZE, which ended in February 2008, Chikyu achieved many splendid results. For example, physical data about accretionary prisms were obtained from sections and core samples from a shallow megasplay thrust, and a coring survey was implemented at sites of future riser drilling. These successful results have laid the foundation for three more stages, planned for the next few years. Chikyu will start riser drilling, for which she was designed and which constitutes her best technological value, in 2009. We are confident that Chikyu has the potential to achieve many further successes, especially with regard to discovering and clarifying the mechanisms of earthquake generation.


It is true that IODP is facing various difficulties right now. Because of the remodeling of the American drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution and an equipment problem at Chikyu, few expeditions were mounted during 2007 and 2008. However, IODP's achievements of the past 5 years, and the promise of the next 5 years, constitute an invaluable human asset, which should be nurtured and expanded beyond 2013. Scientific results from NanTroSEIZE, especially, are expected to yield important knowledge that will improve hazard prevention worldwide.

To this end, J-DESC has organized a domestic steering committee to prepare for IODP New Ventures in Exploring Scientific Targets (INVEST) and J-DESC is now holding workshops to identify and develop significant scientific targets for the second phase of the Science Plan for IODP, slated to begin in 2013.


Therefore, we, the member of J-DESC strongly urge the continuation and expansion of IODP beyond 2013. We hope and anticipate that IODP will be favorably evaluated, with due consideration of its scientific merit and outstanding achievements, and that its importance will be widely recognized by people around the world.



Japan Drilling Earth Science Consortium (J-DESC)

IODP Section



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