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By Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International, Inc.

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) concluded its decadal program (2003–2013) in September 2013. As envisioned in the Initial Science Plan (ISP), IODP expeditions utilized three scientific ocean drilling platforms to cover unprecedented areas of wide oceans, from ice-covered shallow water to full ocean depths. The major advance from the program predecessors, the Deep Sea Drilling Project and the Ocean Drilling Program, was the ability to drill miles of depth below seafloor. The living Earth is a dynamic system that is continuously evolving. Among its aims, IODP sought to understand this complex and unique system through scientific ocean drilling, sampling, and experimenting in deep holes, along with advancement of related scientific disciplines. IODP has been an international collaboration among scientists and nations with keen aspirations to attain the scientific goals of the ISP. By the program’s end, IODP included participating members from 26 nations.

The Proceedings present the scientific and engineering results of IODP drilling projects, each designed to better understand the past, present, and future of the Earth system.

Each IODP expedition started with scientists who submitted research drilling proposals to test new and innovative ideas. These proposals then progressed to international scientific advisors (Science Advisory Structure) who nurtured, evaluated, ranked, and prioritized proposals. Scientists scheduled the science operations, selected science party members from scores of international scientists qualified to participate, planned platform operations, readied the drillship, and chose borehole locations. The science party, collectively and individually, conducted science on board and on shore. The co-chief scientists of each expedition have been responsible for synthesizing the scientific results and will continue in this role as IODP postcruise research results become available.

Ocean-drilling achievements help us to understand and interpret phenomena in various parts of the Earth system. Achievements in the two legacy drilling programs have validated the scientific concepts behind plate tectonics, contributed to the understanding of ocean circulation changes, and extended our knowledge of long- and short-term climate change. IODP has expanded and extended the scientific research conducted by the legacy programs, engaging in cutting-edge research concerning topics of global importance.

Three Implementing Organizations (IOs) conducted IODP drilling platform operations. Riserless platform operations have been conducted by the U.S. Implementing Organization (USIO), comprising the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Inc., Texas A&M University through the Texas A&M Research Foundation, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Riser platform operations have been conducted by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology through Japan’s Center for Deep Earth Exploration in cooperation with the Center for Advanced Marine Core Research at Kochi University. Mission-specific platform operations have been conducted by the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) Science Operator (ESO), comprising the British Geological Survey, the University of Bremen, and the European Petrophysics Consortium. The European IO represented the ocean-drilling efforts of 16 nations in Europe, plus Canada.

The discoveries presented in this volume build upon layers of knowledge and science developed over roughly the last fifty years. Through September 2013, expedition Proceedings were published by IODP Management International for IODP under the sponsorship of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and other IODP members. The material is based upon research supported under Contract OCE-0432224 from NSF.

Kiyoshi Suyehiro
President & Chief Executive Officer
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International, Inc.