6 months ago by Aliki Westrate and Kate Boersen
The research ship JOIDES resolution is undertaking scientific drilling research from March-May 2018 offshore of the North Island’s East Coast to learn more about the processes that drive large earthquakes and tsunami.
We are aware that some people are concerned about the drilling and coring research that is being undertaken and its purpose. The specific region being studied in this expedition is already known to have no potential as a gas hydrate resource, which is part of the reason drilling can proceed safely.
New Zealand’s participation in this expedition and in the International Ocean Discovery Programme is supported by Government scientific research funds.
We believe the more we understand about what causes these natural hazards to happen, the better we can be prepared.
29/04/18: 80 million years ago the Hikurangi Plateau was part of a super-plateau, formed north of NZ. Furthermore, it's unusually thick, and huge - 3 x bigger than the North Island. Read more here.
25/04/18: Back to the seamount! At one of our last sites on #Exp375 we are collecting core samples from the top of an extinct underwater volcano, Turanganui Knoll. To find out why and check out our interactive map.
19/04/18: Success - both observatories are installed! NZ's new under-sea quake lab now in action. Read more here.
16/04/18: The re-entry funnel to Site U1519 splashed into the moonpool today. It was lowered 1003m to the sea floor, about 33km east of Gisborne, NZ. In the coming days, we'll lower the 2nd observatory down through this funnel to sit 280m below the seabed. It will record pressure and temperature changes in the slow slip earthquake zone over time. Combined with our first observatory, both will give new insights into slow slip events at the subduction zone, and their relationship to larger magnitude earthquakes.
15/04/18: Our #EXP375 observatory blends ancient mariner's knowledge with high-tech design - watch Patrick explain how he learnt the 'lost art' of rope splicing to ensure the instruments inside the observatory didn't break or corrode. Watch here.
14/04/18: The casing is going in for NZ's 2nd subseafloor observatory 50km east of Gisborne.
13/04/18: Check out this new animation from #EXP375. It's of NZ's first sub-seafloor observatory ('Te Matakite') being installed in the Hikurangi Subduction Zone to record slow-slip earthquakes for the next 5 years. It is one of the most complex of its kind and in deep water a true engineering/science feat...the crew breathed a big sigh of relief once it was installed successfully!
11/04/18: You know it's rough when the doctor goes to bed after his shift and leaves the seasick pills out to help ourselves to! We're taking refuge in the Bay of Plenty for a few days before it calms down enough to install our 2nd observatory. The acronym they use is WOW - 'waiting on weather'.
10/04/18: We're transiting north to the Bay of Plenty to miss the worst of this incoming storm - a small hiatus to coring and installing observatories - but a good move I think. 4m and building out here....
10/04/18: Are seamounts part of the slow slip puzzle? We hope that coring right beside one on #EXP375 might answer that. To find out more about possible links between slow slip events and seamounts. Read more here.
09/04/18: We're deep in the Hikurangi Subduction Zone at our 2nd site U1520, 90km from the coast and in 3522m of water. The core has been so variable and interesting here - read more
06/04/18: We're halfway through #EXP375 already!
04/04/18: Success! NZ's first subseafloor observatory has been installed in the Hikurangi subduction zone to measure earthquakes in the years to come. It has been challenging but the #EXP375 team is thrilled. Read more here
02/04/18: Part 2 of #EXP375's series on NZ's first sub-seafloor observatory: how it fits in the global picture and what information it may give us to better understand earthquakes in the Hikurangi Subduction Zone. Read more here.
01/04/18: Expedition 375 Co-chief Scientists Laura Wallace and Demian Saffer and Core-log-seismic Integration Specialist Phil Barnes discuss slow slip events at the Hikurangi Subduction Margin and the goals of this expedition, which are to core at four sites beneath the seafloor and install the first two long-term monitoring observatories off the coast of New Zealand. Read more here.
30/03/18: Perfect day for a visit from NIWA's Tangaroa science vessel. The Tangaroa is here collecting OBS's (ocean bottom seismometers) which had been used over summer for the Hikurangi Subduction Zone seismic surveying work.
27/03/18: Read the first of our blogs on 'Te Matakite', the sub-seafloor observatory we are halfway through installing.Its aim is to tell us more about subduction zones and their earthquake and tsunami potential.
25/03/18: There's some artists among the #EXP375 science crew, and some, shall we say.. 'emerging' artists...These styrofoam cups went down with our underwater camera in the first stage of the 'Te Matakite' borehole observatory yesterday to be shrunk by the deep ocean pressure. When we pull them back up later they'll be about 10% of their original size.
24/03/18: Stage 1 complete! At 4am this morning our JR #EXP375 crew lowered the ACORK down 2700m to the re-entry platform. Our observatory is called TE MATAKITE (to see into the future).
It will be our eyes and ears down in the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, giving us so much insight into slow slip events and earthquakes here.
21/03/18: Sneak peak at the spacey looking funnel of the first sub-seafloor observatory we are preparing to install (weather permitting!). It's a bit like putting a satellite into space but this will sit 2.7km down on the seabed. The #EXP375CORK instruments will be carefully lowered through and below it into the frontal thrust #HikurangiSZ area experiencing slow slip earthquakes - 450m below the seabed...
17/03/18: Watch our #EXP375 video showing the #IODP drilling operation. Here they pull up the drill pipe & core liner, cut the core samples into 1.5m sections on the "catwalk", label them and then sample & describe. You can read more here.
16/03/18: Showing the next generation the JOIDES Resolution and its capabilities is so rewarding - Gisborne students Matthew Proffit and Travis Mitchell came on a #EXP375 ship tour after winning a NZ competition - they've named our first CORK observatory 'Te Matakite' - 'To see into the future'. Very apt! We hope to install it into the Hikurangi Subduction Zone next week, to be our eyes and ears down there for up to a decade....
15/03/18: Reaching our first site above the frontal thrust of the Hikurangi subduction zone and we're starting to drill - it's an ambitious and challenging project. Follow the #EXP375 ship's log here.
14/03/18: We're excited to reach Site 1 at the frontal thrust (aka hanging wall) of the Hikurangi subduction zone. And it's all hands on the catwalk when the very first core sample for #EXP375 is pulled up from 2700m below...read more here.
13/03/18: #EXP375 is making good progress up the east coast of NZ, although the swell is keeping things interesting for many of us. We are due to reach site 1 later today, then the work really begins.
12/03/18: It was great to have a look around at all the different parts of the ship today - it's an amazing vessel - part industrial drill rig, part floating science lab. Read the trip blog here.
11/03/18: #EXP375 is off! We had a great 2 day port call in Timaru and a beautiful sunrise as we left. Let's hope Tangaroa (god of the sea) remains calm on our journey up the east coast of NZ to Gisborne. Cyclone Hola? Read the trip blog here.
10/03/18: Day 2 in port and we're seeing the CORK observatories for the first time - it's like Raiders of the lost ark meets Journey to the centre of the earth...They have taken 3 years to make and will sit in the fault for up to a decade