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Europe cores in EUROCORES: Ocean drilling in EuroMARC
Date:11/24/2008

The oceans are our climate regulators, cover the sites of fundamental geodynamic, geochemical and biological processes and have high-resolution records of the Earth's history in store for us. Scientific marine drilling and coring is crucial to cast light on both the deep and shallow (sub-) seafloors to advance our knowledge in the Earth and environmental sciences.

The European Science Foundation's (ESF) European Collaborative Research (EUROCORES) programme EuroMARC is an essential tool to boost European leadership in the planning of international marine coring expeditions and the preparation of IODP (Intergrated Ocean Drilling Program) or IMAGES (International Marine Past Global Change Study) proposals. The programme consists of seven collaborative research projects with principal investigators from nine countries. The scientific focus is manifold: reconstructions of the meridional overturning circulation in both high and low latitudes and of the spatial and temporal structure of the interglacials peaks and demises are made using thick marine sediment sections. Fossil reef and carbonate mounds cores are extracted to reconstruct sea-level and environmental changes. Current ocean dynamics and sediment fluxes are investigated with the help of sediment traps, and hydrothermal processes of deep biosphere at mid ocean ridges get explored.

But how does coring work and what is actually done on the cruises? International marine coring expeditions are divided into several parts, the pre-, cruise and post-cruise activities. It's crucial to be a hundred percent prepared for the coring, which means to plan way ahead, starting with getting a slot on one of the few coring and drilling ships, obtaining territorial drilling permits, making sure all the required equipment is on board and getting a good scientific team together. "We had organisational meetings even before EuroMARC started" said Catherine Kissel from the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in
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Contact: Angela Michiko Hama
mhama@esf.org
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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