Research Vessel Tour

Do you have Flash player< installed? Visit our new interactive flyover ship tour< to see the content below in a fun new format.

Or, watch our flyover video<. Quicktime< required—6 MB download takes about a minute on broadband.

The JR’s physical dimensions are truly remarkable. No really—this a BIG ship—ready to do an amazing job of collecting samples to help us understand Earth's paleoclimate—unlocking the doors to our future through increased knowledge of our past. See past expeditions< for yourself, and learn why cores can teach us so much<.<

Fitted with a derrick< standing 62 m (205 ft) above the water line, the 143 m (469 ft) long research vessel is 21 m (69 ft) wide. When the JOIDES Resolution reaches the drilling site, the crew positions the vessel over the site using 12 computer-controlled thrusters< as well as a main propulsion system. The rig suspends up to 9,150 m (30,020 ft) of drill pipe to an ocean depth as great as 8,235 m (27,018 ft). This is about the equivalent of six miles!

Near the center of the research vessel is the “moon pool<,” a 7m (23 ft) wide hole, through which the drillstring< is lowered into the ocean. Each piece of pipe is about 28m (93 ft) and weighs about 874 kg (1925 lb—just a tad more than a draft horse).

The drill crew uses the draw works to thread each pipe to the drill string. The process of lowering the drill bit, which is affixed to the end of the drillstring, takes about 12 hours in 5,500 m (18,045 ft) of water.

To core through the seafloor, the crew uses a motorized system to rotate the entire drill string. The thrusters on the ship keep the massive vessel itself from rotating.

This scientific drilling process recurs on several sites during each JOIDES Resolution expedition. (Each expedition portion is called a “leg.”)

Okay, so six miles of pipe are positioned in the ocean, and dropped from the deck of the ship. The drillstring and drill bit are rotated, with thrusters keeping the vessel in place so only the drill moves. This ocean drilling operation is a significant engineering feat in itself. But the drilling sample story and research done in the vessel's labs are even more amazing.

The ship has a “lab stack<” where laboratories are organized on seven floors with over 12,000 sq ft of space. (School auditoriums are about 15,000 sq ft.)

Level 1: Hold Deck.

At the bottom of the research vessel is the general cold storage.

Level 2: Tween Deck.

The Tween deck< holds the JOIDES Resolution's recreation areas (a gym!), computer and data services.

Level 3: Main Deck.

Houses the dining room, kitchen (galley<) and laundry room.

Level 4: Forecastle Deck.

Contains chemistry<, microbiology, paleontology<, and X-ray laboratories, as well as a conference room for meetings and presentations.

Level 5: Core Deck.

Where scientists and technicians handle cores, sampling, and description. Also on this deck are the physical properties and paleomagnetism< laboratories, downhole measurements, and the core photo table.

Level 6: Bridge Deck.

Holds science offices, operations offices and a nitrogen generator. At the fantail< of the JOIDES Resolution, the underway geophysics< lab contains the equipment that gathers ship position, water depth, and magnetic information useful in studying the topography of the seafloor. Living quarters, the hospital, and library are located in the forward section of the research vessel.

visit the navigational bridge ><