The Oman Drilling Project received permission in September 2016 to begin operations in mid November 2016. The project targets the Samail Ophiolite in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, which is the world’s largest, best-exposed, and most-studied subaerial block of oceanic crust and upper mantle.
Drilling the Samail Ophiolite will address long-standing unresolved questions regarding formation of oceanic lithosphere at mid-ocean ridges, hydrothermal alteration of the sea floor, and subsequent mass transfer between the crust and the oceans and recycling of volatile elements in subduction zones. The science team also will explore new frontiers including subsurface weathering processes that lead to natural uptake of CO2 from surface waters and the atmosphere—as well as the nature of the subsurface biosphere in areas where these processes are occurring.
Phase I of the Oman Drilling Project will continue through April 2017, with diamond coring scheduled at four sites at the southeast end of the Samail Ophiolite complex, near Muscat. Currently, Phase II is scheduled for Autumn-Winter 2018.
The scientific team will describe and log the Phase I cores in detail on board the Drilling Vessel (D/V) Chikyu while it is in port in Japan. The two science parties composing the team will work on the cores for 30 days each between early May and late September 2017.
Apply to participate in the Oman Drilling Project here.
Multiple sponsors are funding the Oman Drilling Project including: the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, the Deep Carbon Observatory, the International Ocean Discovery Program, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Science Foundation, the German Research Foundation, the European Research Council, and the Swiss National Science Foundation. Full list of partners.
Image: Peter Kelemen leads members of the DCO Executive Committee and guests on a field trip in Oman in January, 2015. Credit: Katie Pratt