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Press Release 12-154
Brazil Joins International Marine Research Effort

Newest nation to participate in Integrated Ocean Drilling Program

Photo of scientists and engineers working on the rig floor aboard the drill ship JOIDES Resolution.

Scientists and engineers at work on the rig floor aboard the drill ship JOIDES Resolution.
Credit and Larger Version

August 21, 2012

Brazil recently joined an international marine research effort to document environmental change by monitoring and sampling the unseen world beneath the sea floor.

The country's inclusion made it the newest of 26 member countries in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).

IODP scientists conduct research aboard specialized scientific drilling vessels to advance understanding of the Earth through drilling, coring, monitoring and documenting Earth processes and effects, solid Earth cycles, the subsurface biosphere, and geodynamics.

"We welcome the addition of Brazil's scientists and engineers to IODP at a time when the world needs the knowledge of its researchers," says Rodey Batiza of the U.S. National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences.

NSF manages the program along with Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The first IODP expedition with Brazilian researchers will begin in about six weeks off the coast of Costa Rica. Scientists plan to learn more about the processes that trigger large earthquakes.

The research will take place aboard the drill ship JOIDES Resolution as part of the Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project. Geoscientists will investigate an erosional subduction zone--a zone where Earth's crust is returning to the mantle at an eroding undersea trench.

It's the only known seismogenic zone at an erosional trench that's not too deep for current scientific drilling capabilities. Expedition scientists will work to understand how "unstable slip" is triggered in this zone.

Brazil's membership in IODP will enable recipients of grants through Brazil's "Science Without Frontiers" program to use IODP scientific facilities for their studies. In addition, an organization in Brazil known as Coordination for Improvement of Higher Education Personnel will host IODP's Brazil offices.

According to Batiza, Brazil's participation in IODP will allow Brazilian scientists to work with other international scientists on common problems at the same time--and give U.S. geoscientists, as well as those from other countries, the opportunity to learn from Brazilian researchers.

"Brazil's participation brings new opportunities not only for that country," says Batiza, "but for the global community."

"The most important part of this far-reaching marine geosciences program," he says, "is the first word in its name: integrated. We're all working together to explore the Earth under the sea."

Additional support comes from the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, the Australia-New Zealand IODP Consortium, India's Ministry of Earth Sciences, the People's Republic of China's Ministry of Science and Technology and the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources.

The JOIDES Resolution is a scientific research vessel managed by the U.S. Implementing Organization (USIO) of IODP. Texas A&M University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership comprise the USIO.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, cdybas@nsf.gov

Related Websites
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program: Exploring the Earth Under the Sea: http://www.iodp.org

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Photo of the drill ship JOIDES Resolution returning from an expedition.
The drill ship JOIDES Resolution returning from an expedition to study the sea floor.
Credit and Larger Version

Photo of scientists and engineers beneath the rig floor.
Beneath the rig floor: The area is a beehive of activity during an expedition.
Credit and Larger Version

Photo of a researcher conducting a geochemical analysis of the water in ocean-floor sediments.
Researchers conduct a geochemical analysis of the water in ocean-floor sediments.
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Photo of geologists sampling a sediment core.
Geologists sample a sediment core brought up from beneath the bottom of the sea.
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