International Ocean Discovery Program

IODP Publications

International Ocean Discovery Program
Expedition 397T Scientific Prospectus

Transit and Return to Walvis Ridge Hotspot1

William W. Sager

Co-Chief Scientist

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

University of Houston


Kaj Hoernle

Co-Chief Scientist

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel


Peter Blum

Expedition Project Manager/Staff Scientist

International Ocean Discovery Program

Texas A&M University


1 Sager, W.W., Hoernle, K., and Blum, P., 2022. Expedition 397T Scientific Prospectus: Transit and Return to Walvis Ridge Hotspot. International Ocean Discovery Program.

See the full publication in PDF.


During International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 391, the Tristan-Gough-Walvis Ridge (TGW) hotspot track was cored in December 2021–February 2022. Its overarching objective was to recover basaltic rock from TGW edifices to understand the evolution of Walvis Ridge and related guyots. Significant cuts to the Expedition 391 operational plan were necessary as a result of lost time due to COVID-19 mitigation procedures. Because the R/V JOIDES Resolution will pass over Walvis Ridge during the transit from Cape Town, South Africa, to Lisbon, Portugal, prior to IODP Expedition 397, the 3 week transit provides an opportunity to drill one or two holes that were planned but not cored during Expedition 391. The transit schedule indicates that ~7 days of ship time will be available for this effort. Coring will be attempted at one or two sites, depending on weather and operational difficulties. The first site to be cored will be proposed Site GT-6A on the flank of the Gough track ridge. If time permits, coring will also be done at proposed Site TT-3A on the Tristan track, completing the proposed transect across the three chains of the Walvis Ridge guyot province. Two operational strategies are planned to address the limited time available. First, the ~164 m thick (Site GT-6A) and ~146 m thick (Site TT-3A) sediment sections will be drilled without coring to ~20 m above basement. Primary Site GT-6A, which is ~1.1 km upslope from alternate Site GT-4A, was specifically proposed because of its reduced sediment thickness.