Japan sets new ocean drilling record

September 7th, 2012 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Sep 7 (IANS) Chikyu, a scientific drilling vessel, established a world new record by boring deeper than 2,111 metres below the seafloor off Shimokita Peninsula of Japan in the northwest Pacific Ocean to obtain rock samples for analysis.

Chikyu is the state-of-the-art scientific research vessel, capable of drilling as much as 10,000 metres below sea level. It is designed to reach the deeper part of the Earth such as the mantle, the plate boundary seisomogenic zones and the deep biosphere.

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), the implementing organisation for scientific expedition aboard the Chikyu, announced this achievement on Thursday.

Chikyu made this achievement during the Deep Coalbed Biosphere expedition, Expedition 337, conducted within the framework of an international marine research programme, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), according to a JAMSTEC statement.

Before Chikyu broke the record, the previous deepest hole in the history of scientific ocean drilling reached 2,111 meters into the seafloor, 504B at Costa Rica Rift.

“We have just opened a window to the new era of scientific ocean drilling,” Fumio Inagaki, co-chief scientist of Expedition 337, said.

“The extended record is just a beginning for the Chikyu. This scientific vessel has tremendous potentials to explore very deep realms that humans have never studied before. The deep samples are precious, and I am confident that our challenges will extend our systematic understanding of nature of life and earth.”

His European colleague, Co-Chief scientist Kai-Uwe Hinrichs from the University of Bremen, Germany, added: “I am very glad that I am here today and could witness this wonderful and important moment. Everybody on the ship worked really hard to make this happen.

“I am very pleased about the high quality of the core samples, which show only minimal drilling disturbance. This is very important for our research,” Hinrichs added.

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