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posted by CoolHand on Thursday December 03 2015, @07:55PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the poking-the-bear dept.

The continuation of many previous quests to drill into the Earth's Mantle will begin shortly in the Indian Ocean. A team of scientists and engineers led jointly by Henry Dick of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Chris MacLeod from Cardiff University will use the scientific drilling ship JOIDES Resolution to bore 2km into the ocean floor in the first of a series of three planned missions to the South-West Indian Ridge. The ultimate aim of the mission is to find and understand the "Moho Boundary", this is a point in the earth's crust where the seismic waves from earthquakes abruptly change their speed of travel. The current explanation of the Moho boundary is a simple change in rock types from the crust to the mantle, however, this operates on untested assumptions about the structure of the Earth's crust and mantle. The team have a theory that the mantle structure is more complicated, and that ingress of ocean water can cause large structural changes. This is the key theory they plan to test with this drilling mission.

"The Moho is pretty uniform everywhere across the ocean basins, and because of that everyone has assumed that the ocean crust is very uniform and therefore, by inference, very simple," explains Prof MacLeod. "But if we're right here, it changes the game completely. If the Moho seismic boundary is actually an alteration boundary from water penetration into the mantle, it means we know a lot less about the ocean crust than we did."

Further information:
Expedition Site: http://iodp.tamu.edu/scienceops/expeditions/indian_ridge_moho.html
Nature Article: http://www.nature.com/news/quest-to-drill-into-earth-s-mantle-restarts-1.18921
BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34967750


Original Submission

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Mission to Drill Deepest Hole in Mantle Ends Short of Goal 8 comments

Back in the beginning of December the JOIDES Resolution, a scientific drilling vessel, began Expedition 360 to drill the deepest hole into the Earth and reach the mantle. The Expedition ended at the end of January with a 789 meter hole, which is short of their goal of 1300 meters. They do have the distinction of having drilled the 5th deepest hole into the solid crust, and they did return both the longest single piece and the widest single piece of hard rocks recovered for scientific purposes. They hope to be able to return to the drill site to continue drilling in a future expedition.

The next expedition for the JOIDES Resolution started on January 30, and will run through March 31, 2016.

Expedition 361: South African Climates will drill core six sites on the southeast African margin and Indian–Atlantic ocean gateway to better understand the relationship between the Agulhas Current -- the strongest western boundary current in the Southern Hemisphere -- and the development of climate in southern Africa during the Pliocene/Pleistocene periods.


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:02PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:02PM (#271529)

    Wood Hole Dick Drills Deep

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @02:53AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @02:53AM (#271667)

      Chris MacLeod Bores Deep In Dick's Wood Hole

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:07PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:07PM (#271533)

    The Core (2003) [imdb.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @12:16AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @12:16AM (#271626)

      horrible movie. 0/10 would not watch again

    • (Score: 1) by xav on Friday December 04 2015, @03:20AM

      by xav (5579) on Friday December 04 2015, @03:20AM (#271677)

      The Core (2003)

      The Spill (2010) [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 2) by DutchUncle on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:08PM

    by DutchUncle (5370) on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:08PM (#271537)

    And where was R'lyeh supposed to be?

    • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:35PM

      by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:35PM (#271546)

      Yeah. If it's not climate change going to kill us, it's those idiots waking up Cthulu.

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday December 04 2015, @06:06PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 04 2015, @06:06PM (#271886) Journal

        Wasn't R'lyeh supposed to be somewhere in the vicinity of Antarctica? If so, we're doubly screwed when climate change causes the Antarctic ice sheet to collapse and wakes up Cthulhu.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 2, Touché) by Aurean on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:44PM

    by Aurean (4924) on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:44PM (#271551)

    We think water ingress may change the mantle - so let's drill a hole in the crust, right nuder an ocean.

    What's the worst that could happen?

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by edIII on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:50PM

      by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 03 2015, @08:50PM (#271556)

      What's the worst that could happen?

      We drain the oceans accidentally? Otherwise, the worst the can happen is a broken drill bit, or somebody goes overboard I think.

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Thursday December 03 2015, @09:27PM

        by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 03 2015, @09:27PM (#271566)

        My hollow earth theory will finally be vindicated!

        • (Score: 1) by xav on Friday December 04 2015, @03:26AM

          by xav (5579) on Friday December 04 2015, @03:26AM (#271679)

          No, since the earth won't be hollow anymore after this experiment.

          On the other hand, the sea level rise problem wil be solved for centuries.

          • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @11:25AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @11:25AM (#271765)

            But we will have other problems, after the earth rotation hamster is drowned and can no longer keep the earth rotating.

    • (Score: 1) by CHK6 on Thursday December 03 2015, @09:42PM

      by CHK6 (5974) on Thursday December 03 2015, @09:42PM (#271571)

      What's the worst thing? Another Syfy feature show on unleashing some underwater creature from the drilling platform to battle megla-tornado-shark.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday December 04 2015, @06:15PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 04 2015, @06:15PM (#271892) Journal

        Sharknado [imdb.com] is one of the finest film franchises ever made, you insensitive clod.

        Only recently surpassed by Kung Fury [imdb.com].

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @09:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @09:54AM (#271748)

      What's the worst that could happen?

      Accidentally triggering an ancient extraterrestrial distress signal sender, which causes some hostile alien race to approach earth to rescue the presumed endangered aliens, and then when they don't find those aliens and come to the conclusion that the humans must have killed them, destroy humanity in retaliation?

      Enrage some ancient god who gave some long-forgotten ancestor of modern humans the long-forgotten command hat the floor of the Indian Ocean has to be kept alone?

      Hit a spacetime anomaly hidden under the ocean floor, causing the opening of a wormhole into another universe populated by hostile beings?

    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday December 04 2015, @06:11PM

      by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 04 2015, @06:11PM (#271890) Journal

      I see it as an experiment in tube-worm farming. Pierce holes in the ocean floor, see vents form around which tube worms colonize, harvest, profit! They could market the product as "tube steak."

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03 2015, @09:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03 2015, @09:34PM (#271568)

    Better leave your wedding rings at home. If somehow it slips off your hand, you're very unlikely to get it back.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @01:49PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @01:49PM (#271781)

      Yeah but same ring just might save your hand from being crushed by a hydraulic door.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday December 04 2015, @06:08PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 04 2015, @06:08PM (#271888) Journal

        Haha I actually have one of those as a reference to that exact thing--a titanium wedding band.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Thursday December 03 2015, @11:21PM

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 03 2015, @11:21PM (#271611)

    There's also this [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @06:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @06:08PM (#271887)

    Watch out!