Behind the Science – Exp. 367: a Record Breaking Expedition!

We need to wait even some years to fully understand the major scientific findings in Expedition 367 but what we can say right now without any doubt is that on the point of view of the operations Exp 367 has been one of the most challenging and successful ever done. Let’s discover why from the words of our Operation Superintendent Steve Midgley.

On expedition 367 we have accomplished many new and interesting things. In this expedition we ran 1493 m of 10 3/4″ casing. I think this is a new record for the most 10 3/4″ casing in a single expedition.

We successfully cored about 150 m of basement underneath 1380 m of sediments. This is nothing short of amazing and I don’t believe anyone in the history of ocean drilling has cored so much basement beneath almost 1400 meters of sandy sediments. This was made possible, in the time available, by deploying the casing with a drill in sysetm for single casing strings. The 842 ma long casing string was the longest single casing string ever installed during DSDP,PDP, or IODP and represents a tremendous time savings to the expedition.

Our recovery percentage in basement were exceptional. Normally we plan on approximately 50% recovery in basement (hard rock). In Hole U1500B, we cored 149,2 ma of basement and we recovered an amazing 114,42 m of core of 76.7% of the material. This was exceptional for the recovery of basalts.

When the cutting pile around our reentry system threatened to put and end to our coring operations, we designed, built and successfully deployed a new free fall funnel that extended our reentry system another 1,35 m above the existing funnel. This was done using components that we all originally designed for other things and required some imagination to envisage and construct. This was a new first in ocean drilling, and allowed us to continue coring on Hole U1500B. We successfully reentered Hole U1500B twice using the extended double funnel system.

Our final depth for Hole U1500B was 1529 meters below seafloor. During the JOIDES Resolution’s history of drilling for ODP/IODP (since 1984), this is the 7th deepest hole in around 33 years of drilling operations. If you add in the Deep Sea Drilling Program (DSDP), this hole ranks as the 12the deepest single expedition hole. There is one other multi-expedition hole ( 11 expeditions ) that holds the record for the deepest hole and it spanned DSDP and ODP operations.

So you can see that this was quite a special expedition