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Great Britain.

Britain was one of the founding members of the International Phase of Ocean Drilling (IPOD) which began in 1975, but British scientists had, in fact, participated in earlier phases of the Deep Sea Drilling Project aboard D/V Glomar Challenger. Individual British marine geophysicists were particularly active in the planning and execution of drilling legs that extended theories of seafloor spreading and established the early evolution of the North Atlantic and the breakup of the southern continents to form the Indian Ocean.

UK sedimentologists and stratigraphers were heavily involved in the development of paleoceanography as a subdiscipline based on studies of oceanic sedimentary sequences. Their special interests included drilling on the Pacific seamounts, and in the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and around Antarctica.

During the IPOD phase, the British community was particularly interested in studies of continental margin evolution. Participating scientists called for greater emphasis on logging and downhole instrumentation in the overall drilling effort, a continuing theme that has subsequently paid great dividends in the development of scientific ocean drilling.

Toward the end of DSDP, UK scientists were very active in paleoceanographic studies that became possible with the advent of hydraulic piston coring. This technique extended undisturbed high-resolution stratigraphy from levels of conventional surface core sampling (10 to 30 meters) to depths of hundreds of meters. This work included studies of North Atlantic climate and water-mass circulation and of sediment distribution on submarine fans.

As members of JOIDES, British scientists recognized that pressing issues in geoscience, such as the linkages between ocean history and global climate change, the evolution of continental margins, and the effects that fluids and gases emanating from the ocean floor have on the ocean's geochemistry, required a platform with increased capability. Our community was therefore frustrated when, as DSDP was succeeded by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) utilizing JOIDES Resolution, funding difficulties caused a brief hiatus in British participation from 1984 to 1986.

Happily Britain did become a full ODP partner in 1986. Since then the British scientific community has been extremely active in the program, with particular interest in the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean campaigns, and in the Pacific ODP program. The first two have generated major synthesis studies, drawing together the results of both DSDP and ODP drilling in these areas. British scientists have chaired a number of the JOIDES advisory panels in recent years, and UK proponents have figured prominently in preparation for the current Atlantic and Mediterranean programs.

One feature of British ODP participation has been the widening of the disciplinary science base within its ODP community to include microbiologists, more geochemists, downhole logging specialists, and development engineers, as well as geologists whose primary interests had been in land-based geological studies far removed from marine geology. Recognizing this widening of interest and increased importance of ODP to British science, the Natural Environment Research Council was the first of the non-US funding agencies to sign the Memorandum of Understanding ensuring continuation of the JOIDES partnership through 1998. Britain will host the first JOIDES Office to be located in a non-US partner country when coordination of the JOIDES advisory structure rotates from the University of Washington, Seattle, to the University of Wales, Cardiff, for two years beginning October 1994.

Rob Kidd grew up in the West Wales seaport of Milford Haven, where his family, made up of generations of seafaring Navy- and trawler-men, encouraged him to get an education and not go to sea. After a research career spanning over 30 cruises, he still blames his intoxication with marine geology on a first post-graduate expedition in the Mediterranean Sea in 1969 that gave him the mistaken impression that research cruises could all be 10 days long! His primary interests are in deep marine sedimentary processes. He holds the Chair of Marine Geology at the University of Wales, Cardiff and represents the UK on the JOIDES Planning Committee. He was Head of ODP Science Operations at Texas A&M University for the program's first two years (1984 to 1986).

James C. Briden is Director of Earth Sciences for the Natural Environment Research Council in UK, having casually thrown away tenure as Professor of Geophysics at the University of Leeds. Previously a landlubbing paleomagnetist who wallowed in the Paleozoic, the Precambrian, and in directional statistics, he was lured into love with marine geoscience through representing UK on the JOIDES executive committee, of which he is chair-elect. He is a Murchison Medallist of the Geological Society of London, and a Frequent Flyer on most of the world's airlines.
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Title Annotation:25 Years of Ocean Drilling; Ocean Drilling Program report
Author:Kidd, Robert B.; Briden, James C.
Publication:Oceanus
Date:Dec 22, 1993
Words:754
Previous Article:Germany.
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