Expedition 399 is nearing the halfway mark with some pretty significant wins under its belt! We have been gathering an impressive amount of hard rock core, smashing the world record for the deepest drilling into mantle rock, reaching a depth of a whopping 400m (and counting!), far surpassing the previous record of just shy of 200m.
Normally it is very difficult to reach mantle rock. However, here on the Atlantic Massif we have a unique position to access mantle rock due to the thinning of the crust from where tectonic plates are slowly pulling apart, allowing us to access it. We also have been extremely fortunate in being able to drill easily and quickly. The significance of this achievement will most certainly ripple into many different scientific fields and into the future for research for years to come.
As with most expeditions, we have faced our own fair share of challenges which have required both compromises and collaborations. It’s without a doubt that in working environments such as these, patience and communication skills must be used, of which our scientists have no shortage of. One of the admirable conversations that were had during the weekly science meeting was understanding the influence of choices made today and the impact it would have on future generations of scientists. This discussion was looking beyond the impact it would make on their own careers, but rather for the legacy of the program as well.
It has been all hands-on deck to process this huge amount of core and now as we reach the mid-point of the expedition we look forward to what the next coming weeks will bring. Our expedition, along with those that came before ours and the ones that came afterwards, will continue to allow scientists to delve into our Earth’s history, unravel the complexities of past climates and environments, and gain insights into the forces that have shaped our world.