FEC Recovery for Co-Chief Scientist duties of Dr Lisa McNeill for IODP Expedition 319

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Ocean and Earth Science


Subduction zones, where two tectonic plates converge, generate the largest magnitude earthquakes on earth and also commonly generate accompanying tsunami waves. These natural hazards can impact both regions local to the earthquake source and distant communities. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and earthquake provided a recent dramatic example of the potential impact of these hazards. Our understanding of the earthquake process has significantly advanced in the last few decades with improvements in the technology for recording earthquake waves. But opportunities to directly sample and take measurements within the fault zones which generate these earthquakes are rare and require complex technology. The Nankai subduction zone of Japan has a long record of past earthquakes and tsunami and has been the focus of geological and geophysical studies over the last 2 decades. As a result, it is probably the best understood subduction system in the world. However, the challenge of directly sampling and monitoring the earthquake-generating fault system is yet to be achieved and the process of earthquake initiation and rupture is still relatively poorly understood. The NanTroSEIZE experiment has been launched within the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) specifically to sample, measure and monitor all parts of the subduction zone fault system, including the deeper parts (~ 6-7 km below the seafloor) of the system where the earthquake rupture takes place. The experiment is a long term project staged over a period of years. The project started with drilling into the relatively shallow (<1.5 km) parts of the subduction zone and fault systems. This stage directly sampled sediment and rock materials and took in situ measurements of the properties of the sediments including the shallow fault zones. IODP Expedition 319, the expedition which this proposal relates to, is the first expedition of Stage 2 and is the first to employ 'riser' drilling technology - this technology will be used for the deep drill holes by allowing greater control on conditions and stability of the borehole at depth. A variety of methods will be used to measure sediment, rock and fault properties during Expedition 319 at two sites within different parts of the subduction zone system: Samples of borehole sediments and rocks; Measurements of sediment-rock properties from tools in the borehole; In situ measurements of properties, such as pressure of fluids within the sediments and the magnitude of the strain that the rocks-sediments are under as the two tectonic plates converge; Measurements of rock properties around and below the borehole, including the main fault generating the earthquakes, by using a second ship to send seismic signals to borehole instruments; Installation of sensitive instruments within one of the boreholes to measure temperature and pressure changes within a fault zone over several years; Preparation of the boreholes for future installation of more complicated monitoring instruments, including seismometers which will record earthquakes, strain and tiltmeters which will measure how the rocks and sediments deform, and pressure and temperature to indicate if and when fluids are moving along the fault systems; These measurements will contribute to the overall NanTroSEIZE goals of understanding how earthquake-generating fault systems develop and behave and how they generate earthquakes.


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Description The successful IODP ocean drilling expedition has resulted in discoveries about the evolution of the Nankai-Japanese continental margin and subduction zone, and about the state of stress across the margin as the two plates subduct. Specific ongoing research is also analysing how different datasets at different spatial and temporal scales can be integrated to understand the stress and strain across the margin as plates collide and the earthquake cycle continues.
Technically this was the first usage of riser drilling and cuttings (rock chips) within scientific ocean drilling and marked a major breakthrough and potential for future drilling to great depths and in difficult environments.
Exploitation Route The successful riser drilling, use of cuttings, and application of new logging tools will be applied to future ocean drilling expeditions in extremely difficult conditions. Therefore the results will improve the likelihood of success for these expeditions. Such expeditions include drilling to the mantle and drilling of earthquake-generating fault zones worldwide
Sectors Environment,Other

Description Results, methodologies and methods to reduce technical problems during deep riser drilling are reported and available for planning of future riser drilling expeditions (e.g., usage within research proposals and for future drilling planning). These results have already been used for other IODP riser drilling expeditions on the Nankai margin. Much of the usage elsewhere worldwide will be in the future as new drilling expeditions are scheduled. All components of the NanTroSEIZE IODP project have involved significant public outreach, in particular in Japan, communicating the importance of subduction zone earthquake research and the role of ocean drilling.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Education,Environment
Impact Types Societal

Description Geological hazards from our dynamic Earth 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentation on geological hazards, including subduction zone earthquakes and tsunami and methodologies, to High Weald (Tonbridge) Geographical Association - primarily 6th form geography students.

No specific impact recorded
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
Description Major National Oceanography Centre Southampton Open Day: Ocean and Earth Day, 2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ~2500 members of the public of all ages visit during the Open Day. Display and discussion provided about subduction zone earthquakes and how scientific ocean drilling is used to investigate the earthquake process

No specific impacts recorded for this activity, but general impacts for the Ocean and Earth Day are recorded in the form of a questionnaire
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
Description Researching the origins of subduction zone earthquakes and tsunami 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation on subduction zone hazards and methodologies used today, including ocean drilling, to Southampton University alumni group.

No impacts recorded
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
Description Talk at UK IODP (ocean drilling) national meeting on subduction zone input drilling and earthquake potential 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation to broad Earth science ocean drilling community, providing information on natural hazard research applications of ocean drilling. Talk sparked questions from other scientists.

No specific impacts as yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
Description Talk to Oxford Geology Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk on subduction zone earthquakes and tsunami and the methods used to study them to local/regional amateur Geology Group (Oxford, UK). Unknown impact as yet.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016