The western Woodlark Basin is arguably the best characterized region of active continental breakup. The proximity of a seismogenic low-angle normal fault that has been imaged by seismic reflection data and zero-offset conjugate margins that are about to be penetrated by seafloor spreading is unique. There are two major objectives for drilling in this region. Both are within the broader context of understanding the physical processes and mechanics of lithospheric extension:

Drilling a very deep hole (>2.5 km) through the low-angle normal fault in the seismogenic zone, where both the footwall and hanging wall are composed of basement, remains our long-term objective. However, as Leg 180 may penetrate only ~1200 m across the fault zone, this and further fault zone experiments and monitoring (e.g., CORK) will require a future leg.

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