GEOTECHNOLOGIEN Rätselbild March 2004

Solution: A look into the Core Drilling Program of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP)

Puzzle Picture March © ODP
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Whether the question about the "dinokiller" or about possible energy sources of the future - they carry the answers in themselves: The cores in the core core of the international "Ocean Drilling Program" (ODP). In an inconspicuous low-rise building in Bremerhaven, thousands of sediment, rock or mud samples are stored from the depths of the seabed.

The drilling ship JOIDES Resolution and its changing crew of scientists have drilled approximately 2, 000 holes in the seabed since 1985 as part of the ODP. The ship has traveled from the Arctic to the Southern Ocean, from the Caribbean to the South China Sea almost all corners of the earth. After all, the drill cores taken so far have a total length of 190 kilometers, and if they are placed next to each other they would reach from Berlin to the Baltic Sea. But measured by the width of the remaining seabed, these are little more than a few tiny pinpricks into the "skin" of our planet.

Messages of the past

The sediments and rocks of the seafloor have conserved clues for climatic fluctuations, dramatic volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts or sea level changes over millions of years. Each core of this "archive" contains new "messages of the past", allowing geoscientists to travel back in time, like in a time capsule. He reveals what the earth looked like when the dinosaurs walked on it or testifies to the tremendous forces under which the huge mountain ranges of the earth piled up.

Valuable source of material and data

For geoscientists, these samples represent a valuable source of material and data, not just for weeks after the drilling expedition, but sometimes months and years later. To ensure that the cores are available for subsequent research, only one longitudinal half of the cores, the so-called "working half", is used for samples and examinations. The researchers carry out all further analyzes on it.

The other half of the core, on the other hand, serves as archive and reference half. It only performs a few basic investigations that do not alter or destroy the nucleus. It is then carefully wrapped, labeled, and stored in the ship's cold rooms until it reaches its final destination, such as the core storage facility in Bremerhaven. display

Frozen for years

Both drill core halves are stored there under constant cooling and well monitored in order to be used as a comparison and analysis material for future generations of scientists. Even years after their salvage, they help to gradually create an ever clearer picture of the seabed and its eventful history from many small puzzle pieces ...

(ODP, geoscience online, 05.03.2004 - NPO)