Next week >
IODP Expedition 317:
Canterbury Basin Sea Level
Week 1 Report (4-7 November 2009)
PDF file is available for download.
9 November 2009
Expedition 317 began at 0738 hr on 3 November 2009 with the first line ashore Berth 4, Townsville, Australia. The JOIDES Resolution arrived in Townsville a day ahead of schedule and port
call activities began without delay to allow for an early departure. Crew
change for all IODP and Transocean personnel and departure of Expedition 324
science party took place on 4 November. Vessel maintenance activities included
inspection, repair and replacement of the vessel's sacrificial anodes by
contract divers; repair of the X-Band radar; replacement and repair of the
propulsion field coils that failed on the transit into Townsville; return of
Lifeboat #2 after repair at an
approved facility, and load testing witnessed by the ABS; inspection of all
lifeboats by a third party inspection company; and inspection and testing of
the freight elevator by third party elevator specialists in the presence of the
ABS surveyor. Further activities included normal on and offloading of all IODP
and Transocean freight; and PR activities including a press conference and ship
tours with Australian government, university, and media representatives.
first calendar week of Expedition 317 consisted of four days in port (4-7
November). Scientists boarded the vessel on 5 November and on 6-7 November
received numerous introductions, laboratory tours, and training sessions on
topics including safety, life on board, computing environment, and scientific
workflows, procedures, and policies.
317 focuses on understanding the relative importance of global sea level
(eustasy) versus local tectonic and sedimentary processes in controlling
continental-margin depositional cyclicity. The emphasis is on the Oligocene to
Recent period when global sea-level change was dominated by glacioeustasy.
Drilling the Canterbury Basin, on the eastern margin of the South Island of New
Zealand, takes advantage of high rates of Neogene sediment supply, which
preserved a high-frequency (0.5-1 m.y. periods) record of depositional
cyclicity. The Canterbury Basin offers the opportunity for expanded study of
the complex interactions between processes responsible for the preserved stratigraphic
record of sequences, as well as providing information on the early history of
the Alpine Fault plate boundary. The deepest target of this expedition is the
early Oligocene Marshall Paraconformity hypothesized to mark the initiation of
thermohaline ciculation and the proto-Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
have strongly influenced deposition in parts of the basin, locally building
large sediment drifts, which aggraded to shelf depths, within the prograding
Neogene section. Understanding the depositional history, paleoceanographic
record and sequence stratigraphic significance of these drifts are secondary
sequences to be drilled are correlative with those drilled on the New Jersey
margin (Legs 150, 150X, 174A, and 174AX), Bahamas (Leg 166), and Marion Plateau
(Leg 194) by ODP. Completion of at least one transect across a far-field
siliciclastic margin, which has been subject to entirely different local
forcing, is a necessary next step in deciphering continental margin
stratigraphy. The Canterbury Basin, where both sequence stratigraphic
geometries and seismic databases are of qualities comparable to those of New
Jersey, is an ideal setting for such a drilling program.
Technical Support and HSE Activities
The Expedition 317 technical staff
boarded the vessel on 4 November and conducted crossover and training with
offgoing staff throughout the week. Surface freight and airfreight were loaded;
offgoing freight was sent to College Station. On 6 November an introductory meeting
was held with the Expedition 317 scientists. On 7 November the technical staff
received marine mammal safety training from the Supervisor of Technical
Support, and laboratory safety training from the Assistant Laboratory Officer.