PRELIMINARY SCIENTIFIC ASSESSMENT
During the Expedition 310 Onshore Science Party, emphasis was placed on visual description, measurement of physical properties, and sampling of the cores. Thus, the Expedition Report, scheduled to be published in March 2007, will contain a descriptive framework for the subsequent postcruise research.
The primary objectives of Expedition 310 require the use of specialized geochemical techniques, paleomagnetic analyses, and detailed investigation of lithological and biological assemblages. These types of analyses were not conducted during the Onshore Science Party but will be conducted over the coming months at the institutions of the Expedition Scientists as part of their postcruise research.
Fulfillment of the Expedition 310 scientific objectives is as follows:1. Establish the course of postglacial sea level rise at Tahiti (i.e., define the exact shape of the deglaciation curve for the period 20.0010.00 ka.
During the offshore phase, cores were recovered from the postglacial reef sequence from 40 to 121 m below current sea level. Therefore, most if not all of the postglacial sequence from the LGM to the present day was recovered. During the Onshore Science Party, high-quality coral samples were taken for dating and sea level change investigations, the results of which are expected to fulfill the first objective.2. Define SST variations for the region over the period 20.0010.00 ka.
During the offshore phase, massive coral colonies suitable for paleoclimate studies and spanning most of the postglacial sequence were recovered in the cores. During the Onshore Science Party, these massive coral colonies were slab-sampled for paleoclimate studies, the results of which are expected to fulfil the second objective.3. Analyze the impact of sea level changes on reef growth and geometry.
During the offshore phase, cores were recovered from holes in various water depths and situated on transects in three different areas around Tahiti. Therefore, results of analyses of samples taken during the Onshore Science Party will be interpreted in broad temporal and spacial contexts, which will allow better understanding of the development of the Tahiti reef.
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