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Exploring the Hydrothermal Evolution of Ocean Crust using Scientific Ocean Drilling

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Natalie Forrest.

2018 marked 50 years since Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP; 1968-1983) Leg 1 drilled 7 sites in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, initiating 5 decades of international co-operation in scientific ocean drilling – arguably the most successful, enduring international science collaboration. Drilling holes deeper than 100-200 m into the oceanic crust is technologically challenging, and igneous oceanic crust represents less than 2% of all the cores recovered to date by scientific ocean drilling. However, the material recovered has provided essential and hitherto unavailable observations crucial to advancing our understanding of the processes that repave two thirds of Earth’s surface every ~200 My, and the role of ocean crust in global biogeochemical cycles.

This talk will explore the history of scientific ocean drilling’, including why and how we drill in the oceans and give an overview of what we have learnt from 50 years of drilling. It will also introduce the upcoming ‘South Atlantic Transect’ drilling, which will re-visit an age transect originally spot-cored over 50 years ago during DSDP Leg 3 to prove the theories of seafloor spreading and plate tectonics, to investigate the hydrothermal interactions between the aging ocean crust and the overlying ocean, the evolution of the deep biosphere with substrate age, and the paleoceanographic evolution of the South Atlantic Ocean.

This talk is part of the Sedgwick Club talks series.

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