Scientific deep-sea drilling in high northern latitudes

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doi: 10.1144/M35.46
Author(s): Thiede, Jorn; Eldholm, Olav; Myhre, Annik M.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of Copenhagen, Department of Geography and Geology, Copenhagen, Denmark
Geological Survey of Canada, Canada
U. S. Geological Survey, United States
Moscow State University, Russian Federation
Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark
University of Bergen, Norway
University of Oslo, Norway
Volume Title: Arctic petroleum geology
Volume Author(s): Spencer, Anthony M., editor; Embry, Ashton F.; Gautier, Donald L.; Stoupakova, Antonina V.; Sorensen, Kai
Source: Memoirs of the Geological Society of London, Vol.35, p.703-714; 33rd international geological congress, Oslo, Norway, Aug. 6-14, 2008, edited by Anthony M. Spencer, Ashton F. Embry, Donald L. Gautier, Antonina V. Stoupakova and Kai Sorensen. Publisher: Geological Society of London, London, United Kingdom. ISSN: 0435-4052. ISBN: 978-1-86239-328-8
Note: In English. 69 refs.; illus., incl. sects., 2 tables, sketch maps
Summary: Some 30 years ago the regional aspects of the plate tectonic history of the Norwegian-Greenland Sea and the eastern Arctic Ocean were unravelled and showed that these ocean basins had opened in early Eocene, 55-56 Ma ago Drilling by Glomar Challenger in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea during Leg 38 of the Deep Sea Drilling Project confirmed the plate tectonic model and established a marine biostratigraphy framework for the region. The leg set the stage for three subsequent Ocean Drilling Program legs of thematically oriented drilling by the Joides Resolution. Leg 104 drilled a deep acoustic basement hole on the Voring Plateau, which has become a legacy hole for volcanic margin studies, and provided new key information on the Northern Hemisphere Glaciation and the history of the Norwegian Current Legs 151 and 162 addressed North Atlantic Arctic gateways problems. During Leg 151 the Joides Resolution succeeded, with icebreaker support, in reaching the ice free waters north of Svalbard, thus for the first time bringing a scientific drill ship into the Arctic Ocean. In 2004, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program organized the mission-specific Expedition 302 to the Lomonosov Ridge in the permanently ice-covered central Arctic Ocean. Comprising a flotilla of three icebreakers, it was a major logistical venture, and resulted in a huge scientific success. The same year the deep site on the Voring Plateau was revisited and a thermal borehole observatory installed. During these legs a large quantity of core samples has allowed the scientific community to address fundamental questions in terms of continental margin development; plate tectonics; nature of basement; marine biostratigraphy; and the temporal and spatial evolution of the high-latitude northern climate and environments. However. major challenges remain, in particular related to the deep basins, ridges and margins of the Arctic Ocean proper. The next advance in knowledge is contingent on new technology and research infrastructure both for drilling and site surveying. Presently, plans for a new research icebreaker with drilling capability are being developed, the Aurora Borealis project. It will allow systematic drilling in most of the permanently ice-covered basins in the high north. The northern high latitudes have been predicted to contain vast hydrocarbon resources and cooperative ventures between industry and academia may be advantageous.
Year of Publication: 2011
Research Program: DSDP Deep Sea Drilling Project
IODP Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 07 Marine Geology and Oceanography; 29 Economic Geology, Energy Sources; Arctic Ocean; Arctic region; Deep Sea Drilling Project; Drilling; Expedition 306; Expeditions 303/306; Exploration; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program; Leg 104; Leg 151; Leg 162; Leg 38; Norwegian Sea; Ocean Drilling Program; Ocean floors; Petroleum; Petroleum exploration; Plate tectonics; Programs; Review; Technology; Voring Plateau
Coordinates: N410000 N671400 E0025500 W0330000
N664042 N674254 E0043436 E0010200
N691455 N802830 E0081340 W0124155
N552838 N772026 W0062700 W0240457
N630000 N770000 E0080000 W0130000
Record ID: 2012022124
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