UH Professor to Lead $10M Drilling Expedition

Press Release
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
UH Professor Jonathan Snow will embark on a two-month journey aboard the JOIDES Resolution research vessel. Pictured here, the ship is shown departing Honolulu in 2009 for a prior expedition. (Credit: William Crawford, IODP/TAMU)

UH Professor to Lead International Drilling Expedition, Voyage to Give Scientists Glimpse into Earth’s Development

 

From finding the first deep-water hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico to locating the meteorite impact that doomed the dinosaurs, scientific ocean drilling has unlocked some major mysteries. A University of Houston (UH) geologist hopes to uncover more such secrets as co-chief scientist on a major international expedition to recover the first-ever drill core from the lower crust of the Pacific Ocean.



Jonathan E. Snow, an associate professor in the department of Earth and atmospheric sciences, will co-lead 28 scientists, chosen from hundreds of applicants around the world, aboard the JOIDES  Resolution research vessel on a voyage supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. The geoscientists on this two-month, $10 million expedition will gather rock samples and data from the lower crust of the ocean that will distinguish between two competing theories on the rate and location of the intrusion of magma into the Earth’s lowermost crust.



“We will be the first to see the rocks that test these models, with the rest of the global ocean crust community eagerly waiting to see the results,” Snow said. “Volcanoes are spectacular things, but they do much more than pose hazards for human populations. They are directly responsible for creating the ocean crust beneath two-thirds of our planet. Deep beneath the volcanic eruptions, molten magma that doesn’t erupt cools slowly to form the crystalline layers of the deep crust, through processes that we don’t yet understand well.”



Covered by miles of water and rock, the deepest layers of the ocean crust are about as inaccessible as it gets, and little was known about them until the 1970s, when deep-diving submersibles and deep-water drilling vessels came on the scene. Since then, scientific drilling has discovered that the ocean crust is formed by a continuous process of volcanic seafloor spreading, one of the key revelations that led to the acceptance of the theory of plate tectonics governing many of the key processes that shape the Earth.



“The formation of the deepest layers, the intrusive lower crust, is the most difficult part to study, because it’s situated not only beneath three to five miles of seawater and sediment, but also beneath the extrusive upper layers,” Snow said. “Getting at these deep layers requires a combination of deep drilling, using advanced technologies developed for oilfield use, and a location where deep cracks in the Earth remove much of the volcanic layer, making the lower crust more accessible.”



The JOIDES  Resolution is the ship that will drill into the lower crust. Designed for deep-sea exploration, it is more than 450 feet long, with a drilling derrick, accommodations for 130 people and a floating laboratory for the analysis of core samples. Snow will share his co-chief scientist duties with Kathryn Gillis, professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and associate dean of the Faculty of Science, at the University of Victoria in Canada. They will join 26 other international scientists on this expedition from December to February.



“Researchers work their entire careers to be co-chief scientist on one of these expeditions,” Snow said. “I am flattered that my name came to the top of the list. I’m only the second person from UH ever to get the call.”

 


Offshore

US Offshore Lease Sale Yields $18 Mln in High Bids

Today’s U.S. oil and gas Lease Sale 248 garnered $18,067,020 in high bids for 24 tracts covering 138,240 acres in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, announced

Canada May Ask Far-offshore Drillers to Pay Extra

Canada may ask oil companies to contribute to the hundreds of millions of dollars or more the country has to pay to an international body if they drill far offshore,

MISC Enters Thai Offshore O&G Market

Energy related maritime solutions and services provider MISC Berhad (MISC) has made inroads into Thailand’s offshore oil and gas market for the first time.

News

NOAA Engineers a Better Current Sensor for Mariners

Navigating into seaports is now safer and more efficient for mariners thanks to improved NOAA technology that ships rely on to give them information about currents.

Matson Orders Two ConRo Ships from NASSCO

Matson Navigation Company, Inc., a subsidiary of container shipper Matson, Inc., has signed a contract with U.S. shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO to build two

Iran Vessels Make 'High Speed Intercept' of US Ship

Four of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) vessels "harassed" a U.S. warship on Tuesday near the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. defense official said, amid

Marine Science

Global Climate Change Threatens Papahānaumokuākea Marine

Despite its remote location in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument faces a looming threat of global climate change that

SC Fisheries Research Vessel Repowered

A fisheries research vessel operated by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), was recently repowered with new eco-friendly fuel-efficient engines from Volvo Penta.

Fighting Barnacle Buildup with Biology

New research solves a mystery behind the gunk that sticks to the bottoms of ships.   The coating of barnacles and other growth along the bottoms of vessels is more than just an eyesore.

Vessels

Matson Orders Two ConRo Ships from NASSCO

Matson Navigation Company, Inc., a subsidiary of container shipper Matson, Inc., has signed a contract with U.S. shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO to build two

Former HMS Illustrious Sold for Scrap

The former aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious will be recycled after 32 years of service, announced the U.K. Ministry of Defense (MOD) who sold the ship to Turkish

Tuco’s New Arctic Workboat to Debut at SMM

Danish producer Tuco Marine said it will reveal a new Arctic workboat daughter craft at next month’s SMM in Hamburg.   Many arctic patrol vessels, icebrakers

 
 
Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1047 sec (10 req/sec)