BGS provides operations and science management for major scientific ocean-drilling projects. Since 2003, we have implemented several high-profile expeditions for the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD), under the auspices of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). We work closely with our partners within the ECORD Science Operator (ESO), a consortium comprising:
- University of Bremen: Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM)
- University of Leicester: geophysics and borehole research group
- University of Montpellier: transfers in porous media team
As part of the ESO partnership, we support the global geoscientific community in their efforts to address the challenges outlined in the IODP Science Plan:
- climate and ocean change
- biosphere frontiers
- Earth connections
- Earth in motion
We coordinate the ESO partnership. We design, build and manage offshore scientific drilling operations and provide coring expertise and operational oversight. Additionally, we provide procurement services, coordinate permitting and expedition scoping efforts, manage the science party and science outputs, and manage expedition outreach activities. Our consortium partners provide expertise, facilities and services for the curation, databasing, archiving and analysis of collected cores and samples, the acquisition of IODP standard measurements, and downhole logging services.
With our partners, we have implemented a series of eight ‘mission-specific platform’ IODP expeditions using a diverse range of vessels, including geotechnical vessels and self-raising lift boats with temporary drill rigs, multipurpose drilling vessels, and research ships equipped with robotic sea-floor drill rigs provided by BGS and MARUM.
We have carried out scientific drilling from the ice fields of the central Arctic Ocean to the barrier reefs of the South Pacific, drilling in water depths of less than 20 m to over 1.5 km. We have recovered over 6.6 km of core material from diverse lithologies including fossil corals that reveal the paleoceanographic evolution of the tropics; highly deformed, biosphere-hosting altered ultramafics from the central Atlantic Ocean, and a near-continuous lithological record from the Chicxulub impact crater in the Gulf of Mexico.
The cores and data that we gather are analysed by the expedition science parties, and later by the wider IODP community, to meet a wide range of scientific objectives.
The IODP expeditions implemented by BGS and partners within ESO are:
- Expedition 302: Arctic coring expedition, 2004
- Expedition 310: Tahiti sea level, 2005–2006
- Expedition 313: New Jersey shallow shelf, 2009
- Expedition 325: Great Barrier Reef environmental changes, 2010
- Expedition 347: Baltic Sea paleoenvironment, 2013–2014
- Expedition 357: Atlantis Massif, 2015–2016
- Expedition 364: Chicxulub impact crater, 2016
- Expedition 381: Corinth active rift development, 2017–2018
An international team of researchers, including BGS geoscientists, have succeeded in acquiring a continuous record of environmental data using fossilised coral from Hawai’i.
A photo blog by members of the BGS Marine Survey team, who recently completed marine surveys around Ascension Island in the South Atlantic Ocean.
BGS marine geoscientists travelled to Ascension Island to support its government with an ongoing, conservation-driven mapping programme.
A data sharing partnership has been agreed between BGS and Ossian, allowing BGS to advance its knowledge of the rock and soil conditions under the seabed.
Event on 23/11/2023
A special webinar focusing on our cutting-edge sea floor mapping research and an exciting new project exploring the deepest reaches of the world’s oceans. A recording is now available.
BGS has joined a multidisciplinary research expedition to ‘explore the unexplored’ and fill in some of the biggest gaps in our knowledge of the oceans’ darkest depths.
BGS scientists are taking part in an expedition off Hawai’i to investigate sea-level changes recorded by ancient coral reefs.
Using high-resolution, multibeam bathymetry and shallow seismic imaging, BGS’s marine geoscience and landslides teams are mapping historic landslides under the waters of Loch Lomond.
BGS help lead the final phase of IODP Expedition 386 in Japan, coordinating science colleagues from around the globe to extract samples from sediment cores aboard DV Chikyu.