Science in Search of Earth's Secrets

What is the JOIDES Resolution?

The JOIDES Resolution (JR) is a research vessel that drills into the ocean floor to collect and study core samples. Scientists use data from the JR to better understand climate change, geology and Earth’s history. It is a part of the International Ocean Discovery Program and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

IODP EXPEDITION 399 patch featuring a shooting star in the sky above a silhouette of the JR outlined in yellow drilling into a raised area of seafloor with pill-shaped microorganisms and an organic molecule.

Exp 399: The Lost City Hydrothermal Field

12 April – 12 June

The Atlantis Massif is an oceanic core complex at 30°N on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on the north side of the Atlantis I transform fault, which offsets the ridge by ~60 kilometers. The massif is capped by a corrugated fault zone, and is composed of a large gabbro intrusion into serpentinized mantle rocks to the south. These altered mantle rocks host the Lost City hydrothermal field, which is famous for carbonate chimneys the height of a house, venting alkaline fluids rich in hydrogen and methane. The hydrogen is formed by the reaction between seawater and mantle mineral oliv- ine, and is a powerful source of energy that may have fueled the formation of the first building blocks of life on Earth. Before life could begin, small organic molecules must have formed abiotically. Scientists have suggested that vent fields such as Lost City may be an analog of systems where these prebiotic reactions occurred, leading to the early development of life. Similar systems may be present on “icy worlds” such as Enceladus, which is one of the moons of Saturn, and capa- ble of supporting life.

Learn more here.

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Time at Sea: 103 days

Date on Ship: Sunday May 28

Time on Ship: 13:24



Click a Photo to Read Blogs from the Ship’s Crew.
  • Processing Microbiology Samples Onboard
  • Record Hole in Mantle Rock
  • Approaching the Halfway Point!
  • Letter For the Science Party:


Click any marker to learn more about our past expeditions! Zoom in on the map for more accurate drill site locations.
JOIDES Resolution