deep sea drilling vessel Chikyu sets a world new record by drilling
down and obtains rock samples from deeper than 2,111 m below the
seafloor off Shimokita Peninsula of Japan in the northwest Pacific
Ocean. The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
(JAMSTEC), the implementing organization for scientific expedition
aboard the Chikyu, announced this achievement on 6th September, 2012.
made this achievement during the Deep Coalbed Biosphere expedition,
Expedition 337, conducted within the framework of an international
marine research program, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
broke the record, the previous deepest hole in the history of
scientific ocean drilling reached 2,111 m into the seafloor, 504B at
Costa Rica Rift.
have just opened a window to the new era of scientific ocean drilling”,
Fumio Inagaki, Co-Chief scientist of Expedition 337, says. “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.”
European colleague, Co-Chief scientist Kai-Uwe Hinrichs from the
University of Bremen, Germany, adds, “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. And, 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.”
is the state-of-the-art scientific research vessel, capable of drilling
as much as 10,000 m 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.
down to 2,200 m below the seafloor and obtaining high-quality samples
from the deeply buried coal formation is the main objective of the
expedition. An international science party aboard Chikyu has already achieved this aim working jointly with CDEX and operational team.
Samples collected from the target coalbeds have been analyzed in the laboratory aboard Chikyu
and will continue to be examined after the expedition. The research
will provide new insights into the deep life associated with a
hydrocarbon system in the deep marine subsurface.
expedition that started in late July continues coring operations to
obtain even deeper rock samples and formation fluids using a new
borehole wire-line instrument in situ.
For another 3 weeks, the science party on Chikyu
will continue to explore the deeply buried coal formation, in which
microbes may be involved in the formation of natural gas, and to tackle
fundamental scientific questions related to the co-evolution of Earth