Dr. Patrick Fulton (Right, Texas A&M Geology and Geophysics) and Dr. Demian Saffer (Left, Penn State University) stand in front of one of two sub-seafloor observatories before it is installed beneath the sea, while on board the JOIDES Resolution for IODP Expedition 375. (Patrick Fulton/IODP)
Expedition 375 extracted drill cores in the subduction zone for analysis and inserted two observatories into two of the drill holes to investigate the processes and the conditions that underlie slow slip events (SSEs), sometimes called “slow earthquakes” or “silent earthquakes.” SSEs occur when, over a period of weeks to months, movement between the tectonic plates occurs slowly across the subduction zone.
IODP is an international research collaboration funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that coordinates seagoing expeditions to study the history of the Earth recorded in sediments and rocks beneath the ocean floor. The JOIDES Resolution Science Operator (JRSO) operates the JR scientific drillship, and the JRSO is based in the Texas A&M College of Geosciences. One of IODP’s three main ocean sediment core repositories is housed at Texas A&M.
The program earns enormous prestige and federal grant money to Texas A&M; the latest NSF grant provided $335 million over 5 years.
Dr. Hiroko Kitajima, assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, was also part of the Science Party for this expedition, serving as a petrophysics specialist. She is studying the physics of recurring slow slip along the fault zone, through experiments on core samples from the subduction, which will be conducted in the John W. Handin Laboratory for Experimental Rock Deformation, part of the Center for Tectonophysics at Texas A&M.
Dr. Katerina E. Petronotis, of IODP at Texas A&M, served as expedition project manager and staff scientist for Expedition 375, and numerous IODP staff members from Texas A&M served as the technical support team on board.
Read more about Expedition 375 and the observatories:
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