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Expedition 304/305 Scientists2


This chapter documents the procedures and methods employed in the various shipboard laboratories during Expeditions 304 and 305 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). This information applies only to shipboard work described in the Expedition Reports section of the Expedition 304/305 Proceedings of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program volume. Methods for shore-based analysis of Expedition 304 and 305 samples and data will be described in individual scientific contributions to be published elsewhere.


All shipboard scientists contributed to the completion of this volume. The separate sections of the chapters were, however, written by teams of scientists as given below (listed alphabetically):

  • Expedition summary: Expedition 304/305 Scientists
  • Background and objectives: Blackman, John, Ildefonse, Ohara
  • Operations: Grigar, Grout, Midgely, Miller, Storms
  • Igneous and mantle petrology: Abe, Andal, Brunelli, Charney, Christie, Hansen, Hellebrand, Ishimaru, Johnson, Maeda, Tamura Hasebe, von der Handt
  • Metamorphic/Alteration petrology: Abratis, Andreani, Beard, Delacour, Drouin, Frost, Fryer, McCaig, Nozaka
  • Structural geology: Escartin, Grimes, Halfpenny, Hayman, Hirose, Hirth, Michibayashi, Suhr
  • Geochemistry: Awaji, Godard, Rosner, Yamasaki
  • Paleomagnetism: Gee, Morris, Tominaga, Zhao
  • Physical properties: Blackman, Harris, Karner, Searle
  • Microbiology: Mason, Nakagawa
  • Downhole measurements: Delius, Einaudi, Linek

Numbering of sites, holes, cores, and samples

Drilling sites are numbered consecutively from the first Deep Sea Drilling Project site drilled by the Glomar Challenger in 1968. Starting with IODP Expedition 301, the prefix “U” designates sites occupied by the U.S. Implementing Organization (USIO) vessel. At a site, multiple holes can be drilled by removing the drill pipe from the seafloor, moving the ship a short distance, and then drilling a new hole. For all IODP drill sites, a letter suffix distinguishes each hole drilled at the same site. The first hole drilled is assigned the site number modified by the suffix “A,” the second hole takes the site number and suffix “B,” and so forth. The cored interval is measured in meters below seafloor (mbsf). The depth below seafloor is determined by subtracting the water depth estimated from the initial drill pipe measurement, which gives the length of pipe from the rig floor to the seafloor (measured in meters below rig floor), from the total drill pipe measurement. While on site, ship location over a hole is maintained with respect to a positioning beacon deployed on the seafloor and in active communication with the Nautrinix dynamic positioning (DP) system on the JOIDES Resolution. In general, the primary reference for DP was the Global Positioning System (GPS); the beacon reference acts as a backup in the event that GPS is unreliable.

During most IODP cruises, each cored interval is generally 9.5–9.8 m long, which is the length of a core barrel. However, one potential cause of poor recovery in hard rock coring is core jamming in the bit or the throat of the core barrel. Once the opening in the bit is jammed, core may be prevented from entering the core barrel. During Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) hard rock coring missions, a novel coring approach employed to improve recovery was to extract the core barrel at shorter penetration intervals in order to mitigate loss of core when the bit was blocked. Following this strategy, most cored intervals during Expeditions 304 and 305 were reduced to 4.5–5 m (half cores).

Each recovered core is divided into 1.5 m sections that are numbered serially from the top. When full recovery is achieved, the sections are numbered sequentially as recovered, starting with 1 at the top of the core; the last section may be shorter than 1.5 m (Fig. F1). When the recovered core is shorter than the cored interval, the top of the core is equated with the top of the cored interval (in mbsf) by convention to achieve consistency in handling analytical data derived from the cores. All pieces recovered are placed immediately adjacent to each other in the core tray. Samples and descriptions of the cores are designated by distance, measured in centimeters from the top of the section to the top and bottom of each sample or interval. A full identifier for a sample consists of the following information: expedition, site, hole, core number, core type, section number, piece number (for hard rock), and interval in centimeters measured from the top of section. For example, a sample identification of “304-U1309B-2R-1, 30–32 cm” represents a piece of core removed from the interval between 30 and 32 cm below the top of Section 1, Core 2 (R designates that this core was taken with the rotary core barrel [RCB]) of Hole U1309B from Expedition 304 (Fig. F1).

Core handling

Most cores recovered during Expeditions 304 and 305 were extracted from the core barrel in plastic liners. These liners were carried from the rig floor to the core processing area on the catwalk outside the core laboratory, where they were split into 1.5 m sections.

Liner caps (blue = top; colorless = bottom) were glued with acetone onto liner sections on the catwalk. The 1.5 m sections were transferred to the core splitting room, where the plastic liners were split lengthwise to expose the core. For cores recovered without plastic liners, core pieces were extracted from the core barrel and placed in consecutive order in a split plastic liner. In either case, pieces of the core were pushed together and the length of the core in each core liner was measured to the nearest centimeter; this measurement was entered into the IODP curation data acquisition program as liner length (LL in the database), and the cores were transferred to the core splitting room.

Nearly all pieces of core were marked on the bottom with a red wax pencil to preserve orientation, either before they were extracted from the core barrel or when they were removed from the split core liner. In some cases, the pieces were too small to be oriented with certainty. Therefore, the red wax mark does not universally indicate that the core piece was oriented. Whole-round samples for microbiology were sampled in the core splitting room prior to any other handling using techniques described in “Microbiology.”

Adjacent core pieces that could be fit along fractures were curated as single pieces. A plastic spacer was secured to the split core liner with acetone between individual pieces and/or reconstructed contiguous groups of pieces. These spacers may represent a substantial interval of no recovery. The length of each section of core, including spacers, was entered into the curation database as the curated length. The curated length will commonly differ by a few centimeters from the liner length measured on the catwalk. Subsequently, the cores were marked by a structural geologist or igneous petrologist to indicate a split line, ideally maximizing the expression of dipping structure on the cut face of the core while maintaining representative lithology in both archive and working halves.

Each section was scanned using the shipboard multisensor track (MST) (see “Nondestructive sample experiments” in “Physical properties”), and the outer cylindrical surfaces of the whole-round pieces were scanned with the IODP digital core scanner, using the split line marking for registration. Each whole-round core was scanned two or three times, with the core rotated by 180° or 120°, respectively, between each scan. The digital images from these scans can be merged to form an unwrapped image of the surface of the whole-round core.

Each piece of core was then split into archive and working halves, with the positions of plastic spacers between pieces maintained in both halves. Pieces are numbered sequentially from the top of each section beginning with number 1; reconstructed groups of pieces are assigned the same number but are lettered consecutively. Pieces are labeled only on the outer cylindrical surfaces of the core. If the piece is oriented with respect to the way up, an arrow was added to the label pointing to the top of the section.

The archive half of each core was described, and observations were recorded on IODP templates and spreadsheets developed by the shipboard scientific party (for details, see individual disciplinary sections in this chapter). Digital images of the dry cut face of the archive halves were captured with the IODP digital imaging system. Archive-half sections were also passed through the cryogenic magnetometer for magnetic remanence measurements.

Finally, the archive half was photographed using black-and-white and color film. Digital color close-up images were taken of particular features for illustrations in the summary of each site, as requested by individual scientists. The working half of the core was sampled for both shipboard characterization of cores and shore-based microbiological studies. Samples were routinely taken for shipboard physical properties (minicore or ~9 cm3 cube), paleomagnetic (minicore or ~9 cm3 cube), thin section (billet or slab), and geochemical analyses (billet or quarter round) as described in the sections below. Each extracted sample was logged into the sampling database program by the location and the name of the investigator receiving the sample or by the type of shipboard sample. Records of all removed samples are kept by the curator at IODP. The extracted samples were sealed in plastic vials, cubes, or bags and labeled.

Following the shipboard initial scientific measurements and sampling, both halves of cores were shrink-wrapped in plastic to prevent rock pieces from moving out of sequence during transit. The working and archive halves of cores were then put into labeled plastic tubes, sealed, and transferred to cold-storage space aboard the drilling vessel. At the end of Expedition 305, the cores from both expeditions were transferred from the ship to cold storage at the IODP Gulf Coast Repository in College Station, Texas (USA). After a joint postcruise sampling party for Expeditions 304 and 305, the cores were transferred for permanent storage to the IODP repository at the University of Bremen (Germany).

Hard rock core descriptions

Hard rock petrographic observations made during Expeditions 304 and 305 are stored in both written and electronic media. All descriptions and measurements were made on the archive halves of the cores, except where otherwise noted. A summary of macroscopic features observed in the cores is presented in visual core description (VCD) forms (Fig. F2). In the VCD forms, individual piece numbers are noted along the left-hand side of the core image. In the column labeled Orientation, arrows indicate pieces large enough to be oriented with respect to the top of the core. The location of shipboard samples are noted in the column labeled Shipboard Studies. Complete macroscopic descriptions and measurements are available for each site in spreadsheet form (see “Supplementary material”). For details on observations recorded in the spreadsheets, the reader is referred to the disciplinary sections in this chapter. Complete microscopic descriptions on petrographic thin sections are available for each site (see “Core descriptions”).

Sediment descriptions

A few sediment cores were collected during Expedition 304 in pursuit of our objective of documenting the upper surface of the massif. Because these cores were collected with rotary coring systems, all of them show moderate to pervasive drilling disturbance. For all but the single extended core barrel core, virtually no lithostratigraphy can be determined from these cores, as they are soupy, unconsolidated, drilling-reworked slurry. The sediment components have been described on standard IODP VCD barrel sheets. Only three classes of materials have been distinguished (Fig. F3): calcareous ooze, conglomerate, and basalts. The basalts have more complete descriptions in the hard rock VCD forms. Microbiological samples taken onboard from the sediments are noted in the Sample column with the symbol MB. Colors described are estimated from Munsell color charts.

1 Expedition 304/305 Scientists, 2006. Methods. In Blackman, D.K., Ildefonse, B., John, B.E., Ohara, Y., Miller, D.J., MacLeod, C.J., and the Expedition 304/305 Scientists. Proc. IODP, 304/305: College Station TX (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International, Inc.). doi:10.2204/​iodp.proc.304305.102.2006

2 Expedition 304/305 Scientists’ addresses.

Publication: 3 June 2006
MS 304305-102