The IODP is providing a better understanding of:
- plate tectonic processes
- the Earth’s crustal structure and composition
- environmental conditions and life in ancient oceans
- climate change.
IODP builds on the legacies of the early ocean drilling voyages, including the Deep Sea Drilling Project (1968 to 1983) and the Ocean Drilling Program (1983 to 2003).
The IODP is made up of an international partnership of scientists and institutions building on 50 years of scientific ocean drilling. The UK is an integral member of the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) which, together with the US, Japan and other international partners, funds and steers the research.
The UK IODP research programme supports the UK’s engagement in IODP, enabling UK scientists to:
- help ensure IODP carries out the best and highest priority science
- participate in and obtain material from drilling legs
- capitalise on the results of IODP drilling and UK technologies, allowing them to benefit from technological advances in scientific ocean drilling.
The success of IODP depends on the development of excellent and innovative drilling proposals. To be successful, a drilling proposal must have outstanding science objectives. However, the geology of the proposed drill sites must also be well enough known to show that the targets required to address the scientific objectives can be drilled, and that the drilling can be done safely.
This requires detailed geophysical sub-seafloor characterisation of the proposed sites. That usually includes minimal crossing of seismic reflection lines and a range of geology-specific additional observations.
UK IODP has allocated funding for virtual site surveys for the interpretation of geological data in support of UK-led drilling proposals. For further information on the IODP Science Programme and drilling proposals see the IODP and the Site Survey Data Bank websites.