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Scientists launch deep-sea scientific drilling program to study volatile earthquake zone
Date:9/20/2007

Drilling (LWD) investigations will occur at all Stage 1 drill sites. LWD operations consist of continuously drilling one or more holes at each site by drilling down at a controlled rate, with logging tools incorporated into the bottom-hole assembly, a relatively short distance (tens of meters) behind the drill bit. Log data are acquired very soon after the hole is cut, providing the best possible data quality. LWD operational and science data are crucial for optimizing subsequent Stage 1 expeditions and future drilling stages.

The current NanTroSEIZE expedition is led by Co-Chief Scientist Harold Tobin, a marine geologist on the faculty of University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Co-Chief Scientist Masa Kinoshita, a marine geophysicist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), a leading research institution in Japan.

"A fundamental goal of the NanTroSEIZE expedition," says Dr. Tobin, "is to put long-term monitoring instruments down inside the earthquake fault, so we can look at the physics of the fault process. We will be able to determine whether earthquakes actually have precursory signalsuthings that happen before the earthquakes uwe can measure that will provide early warning systems for people on land."

Co-chief scientist Dr. Kinoshita explains that to people in Japan, earthquakes and tsunamis are serious matters. "Consequently, it is logical and relatively easy to excavate into the earthquake source to learn about its mechanism," he says. The NanTroSEIZE science party will excavate 6,000 meters below the 2,000-meter deep oceanic bottom to meet the expedition's scientific objectives.

Prior to its role in NanTroSEIZE, the Chikyu underwent a full schedule of systems integration testing near Shimokita Peninsula and in-situ testing of its drilling, coring, and navigation systems. Sea trials for the custom-built drilling vessel began in 2005 and concluded more than two years later. The Chikyu is the first riser-equipp
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Contact: Nancy Light
nlight@iodp.org
202-465-7511
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International
Source:Eurekalert

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