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JOIDES Resolution Tour: About the Ocean Drilling Program

The Ocean Drilling Program sponsors an international partnership of scientists and governments to explore Earth's structure and history beneath the seafloor.


Water covers more than 70 percent of Earth's surface. Geoscientists explore the oceans to better understand Earth's fundamental processes.

-- Earth's surface constantly changes and evolves. Drilling into oceanic crust allows scientists to learn more about forces such as volcanoes and earthquakes, which have direct consequences to society. They also investigate other changes in Earth surface such as ocean crust formation and destruction, mountain building, and margin subsidence and uplift.

-- Earth's sea level constantly fluctuates in response to climatic and tectonic forces. Scientists examine sediments and rocks recovered from drill sites in the ocean to develop models of the oceans' history. These models, in turn, can help countries manage coastal zones.

-- Sediments found beneath the oceans are in part composed of skeletal remains of plants and animals. Scientists examining composition of sediments can learn more about Earth's complex climate system and how the ocean environment responds to climate changes through time.

ODP constantly refines existing systems and develops new technology. Current projects include developing systems to drill into highly fractured formations, to withstand extremely high temperatures, and to drill deeper into the ocean's crust than ever before.


The Ocean Drilling Program is primarily funded by the US National Science Foundation and other research agencies around the world.

Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES), an international group of scientists, provides scientific planning and program advice. Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc., a nonprofit consortium of major U.S. oceanographic institutions, manages the program.


Texas A&M University serves as science operator for the Ocean Drilling Program. The science operator operates and staffs the drill ship and retrieves cores from strategic sites around the world. On board the ship, Texas A&M maintains the laboratories and provides technical and logistical support for shipboard scientific teams.

On shore, the university manages scientific activities before and after each cruise, curates the cores, distributes samples, and edits and publishes the scientific results.

    Core Repositories

    ODP stores core samples for future investigations at four repositories.

    -- The East Coast Repository at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., U.S.A., stores cores retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean through Leg 150.

    -- The Gulf Coast Repository at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, U.S.A., houses ODP cores from the Pacific and Indian oceans and all special collections such as pore waters.

    -- The West Coast Repository at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., U.S.A., stores all cores retrieved from the Pacific and Indian oceans during the Deep Sea Drilling Project.

    -- The Bremen Core Repository at the University of Bremen, Federal Republic of Germany, houses all cores retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean since Leg 151.

    Scientists worldwide request samples or visit the repositories to study the cores on site.


Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University manages wireline logging. LDEO also stores all precruise site surveys in its data bank.

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Modified on Tuesday, 03-Dec-2002 11:43:16 CST.