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International Ocean Discovery Program
Expedition 390C Preliminary Report

South Atlantic Transect Reentry Systems1

5 October–5 December 2020

Emily R. Estes, Trevor Williams, Stephen Midgley, Rosalind M. Coggon, Jason B. Sylvan, Gail L. Christeson, and Damon A.H. Teagle

Published April 2021

See the full publication in PDF.


International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 390C was implemented in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and occupied sites proposed for the postponed Expeditions 390 and 393. The objectives for Expedition 390C were to core one hole at each site with the advanced piston corer/extended core barrel (APC/XCB) system to basement for gas safety monitoring and to install a reentry system with casing through the sediment to between ~5 m above basement and <5 m into basement in a second hole. These operations will expedite basement drilling during the rescheduled South Atlantic Transect Expeditions 390 and 393. The six primary sites for those expeditions form a transect perpendicular to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on the South American plate, overlying crust ranging in age from 7 to 61 Ma. Basement coring will increase our understanding of how crustal alteration progresses over time across the flanks of a slow/intermediate spreading ridge and how microorganisms survive in deep subsurface environments. Sediment will be used in paleoceanographic and microbiological studies. Expedition 390C started in Kristiansand, Norway, and ended in Cape Town, South Africa, after 31 days of operations. We cored a single APC/XCB sediment hole to the contact with hard rock material at four of the six sites and successfully installed reentry systems with casing at three. Two failed attempts at drilling in casing and a reentry system into hard rock at Site U1558 indicate that the Dril-Quip reentry cones and running tools are incompatible with use in hard rock because the release mechanism does not work when the casing string weight cannot be fully removed from the running tool. Therefore, at Sites U1558 and U1559, casing was installed to ~10 m above basement. Site U1557 has a thick sediment cover (564 m) and will require multiple casing strings to reach basement; a single 16" casing string was installed to 60 meters below seafloor at this site, and later expeditions will extend casing.

1Estes, E.R., Williams, T., Midgley, S., Coggon, R.M., Sylvan, J.B.,Christeson, G.L., Teagle, D.A.H., and the Expedition 390C Scientists, 2021. Expedition 390C Preliminary Report: South Atlantic Transect Reentry Systems. International Ocean Discovery Program.​10.14379/​

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