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Five IODP Expeditions are scheduled for 2017-18 in NZ waters

Five International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) expeditions will take place in New Zealand waters during 2017-2018. Information on key objectives and co-chief scientists can be found below:

Leg 371, Tasman Frontier subduction (Lord Howe Rise)

Scheduled Aug-Sep 2017.
Co-chief scientists: Rupert Sutherland (VUW) and Jerry Dickens (Rice Uni, USA).

This leg will drill into the Tasman Sea, northwest of the North Island, to discover how and why tectonic plate subduction began about 50 million years ago and determine the influence this has had on regional and global climate.

Leg 372, Creeping gas hydrate slides (Hikurangi margin)

Scheduled Dec 2017.
Co-chief scientists: Ingo Pecher (University of Auckland) and Phil Barnes (NIWA).

This project will test if slow deformation of the Tuaheni seafloor landslide, about 30km off the Gisborne coast, is linked to the occurrence of gas hydrates by sampling the sub-seafloor layer along which the slide mass is moving. There are hundreds of seafloor methane gas vents in this region and scientists speculate that methane may be responsible for making the landslide behave like a glacier. This is an ancillary expedition – combined with the Hikurangi observatory expedition (Leg 375).

Leg 374, West Antarctic Ice Sheet (Ross Sea)

Scheduled Jan-Feb 2018.
Co-chief scientists: Rob McKay (VUW) and other co-chief yet to be announced.

This leg will recover geological archives from beneath the seafloor off the Ross Ice Shelf to gain an improved understanding of the behaviour and stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet through multiple cycles of warming and cooling during the past 20 million years.

Leg 375, Hikurangi observatory

Scheduled Mar-May 2018.
Co-chief scientists: Laura Wallace (GNS Science) and Demian Saffer (Penn State, USA).

Three boreholes will be drilled offshore, east of Gisborne, where the overlying Australian plate and the Pacific plate meet. Scientists will collect samples, geophysical logs, make down-hole measurements, and install instruments designed to learn about slow earthquakes. The project is expected to lead to the capability for giving early warnings of damaging offshore earthquakes and tsunamis.

Leg 376, Gateway to the Sub-Arc Mantle: Volatile Flux (Brothers Volcano, Kermadec Arc)

Scheduled May-Jun 2018. Co-chief scientist: Cornel de Ronde (GNS Science), other Co-chief scientist is yet to be announced.

This expedition will probe the active Brothers Volcano, about 400 km northeast of the Bay of Plenty coast, to investigate the transport of fluids and metals inside an active submarine volcano and learn about the conditions for microbial life inside these volcanoes.