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Brazil joins international marine research effort

Brazil recently joined an international marine research effort to document environmental change by monitoring and sampling the unseen world beneath the sea floor.

The country's inclusion made it the newest of 26 member countries in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).

IODP scientists conduct research aboard specialized scientific drilling vessels to advance understanding of the Earth through drilling, coring, monitoring and documenting Earth processes and effects, solid Earth cycles, the subsurface biosphere, and geodynamics.

"We welcome the addition of Brazil's scientists and engineers to IODP at a time when the world needs the knowledge of its researchers," says Rodey Batiza of the U.S. National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences.

NSF manages the program along with Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The first IODP expedition with Brazilian researchers will begin in about six weeks off the coast of Costa Rica. Scientists plan to learn more about the processes that trigger large earthquakes.

The research will take place aboard the drill ship JOIDES Resolution as part of the Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project. Geoscientists will investigate an erosional subduction zone--a zone where Earth's crust is returning to the mantle at an eroding undersea trench.

It's the only known seismogenic zone at an erosional trench that's not too deep for current scientific drilling capabilities. Expedition scientists will work to understand how "unstable slip" is triggered in this zone.

Brazil's membership in IODP will enable recipients of grants through Brazil's "Science Without Frontiers" program to use IODP scientific facilities for their studies. In addition, an organization in Brazil known as Coordination for Improvement of Higher Education Personnel will host IODP's Brazil offices.

According to Batiza, Brazil's participation in IODP will a

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
National Science Foundation

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