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Future (IODP-tpe) Scientific Drilling in the Arctic Ocean: An Overview on Key Objectives and Key Areas

Ruediger Stein
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and MArine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany.

With the successful completion of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 302 (Arctic Coring Expedition - ACEX), the first Mission Specific Platform (MSP) expedition within the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program - IODP, a new era in Arctic research has begun. For the first time, a scientific drilling in the permanently ice-covered Arctic Ocean was carried out, penetrating about 430 meters of Quaternary, Neogene, Paleogene and Campanian sediment on the crest of Lomonosov Ridge close to the North Pole (Backman, et al., 2006). ACEX was an outstanding success for two reasons. First, ACEX has proven that with an intensive ice-management strategy, i.e., a three-ship approach with two powerful icebreakers (Sovetskiy Soyuz and Oden) protecting the drillship (Vidar Viking) by breaking upstream ice floes into small pieces, successful scientific drilling in the permanently ice-covered central Arctic Ocean is possible. Second, the first scientific results comprise a milestone in Arctic Ocean research and brought new insights into the Arctic Ocean climate history and its global significance (Backman and Moran, 2008 and further references therein). The success of ACEX has certainly opened the door for further scientific drilling in the Arctic Ocean, and will frame the next round of questions to be answered from new drill holes to be taken during next decades.

In order to discuss and plan the future of scientific drilling in the Arctic Ocean, an international workshop was held at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, in November 2008 (Stein and Coakley, 2009; Coakley and Stein, 2010). As the result of the workshop, key objectives and key areas have been identified, and - as direct outcome of the workshop - several new proposals for future scientific drilling in the Arctic Ocean, related to the tectonic and paleoceanographic evolution, have been submitted to IODP during the last two years. The key objectives as well as key areas are presented and summarized in this poster.

Backman, J., and Moran, K., 2008. Introduction to special section on Cenozoic Paleoceanography of the Central Arctic Ocean Paleoceanography, 23, PA1S01, doi:10.1029/2007PA001516
Backman, J., Moran, K., Mayer, L.A., McInroy, D.B., and the Expedition 302 Scientists, 2006. Proceedings IODP, 302, College Station TX (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International, Inc.). doi:10.2204/iodp.proc.302.104.2006.
Coakley, B. and Stein, R., 2010. Arctic Ocean Scientific Drilling: The Next Frontier. Scientific Drilling 9, 45-49; doi:10.2204/iodp.sd.9.09.2010.
Stein, R. and Coakley, B., 2009. Scientific Drilling in the Arctic Ocean: A challenge for the next decades. INVEST White Paper; http://www.marum.de/Binaries/Binary42266/SteinArcticOcean.pdf .

 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90130©2011 3P Arctic, The Polar Petroleum Potential Conference & Exhibition, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 30 August-2 September, 2011.

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