South Korea joins integrated ocean drilling program

International research program expands to include 21 countries



Japan's contribution to IODP, the CHIKYU, will be joined by a U.S.-sponsored drilling vessel (currently undergoing rehabilitation and as yet unnamed) off the coast of Japan in Sept. 2007, when international teams of...
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The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, the world's largest and most ambitious scientific ocean research program operating today, has expanded its base of international support by welcoming the Republic of Korea as its newest member. South Korea's membership was signed into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by officials from Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea. The MOU creates an Interim Asian Consortium, with the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) as its first affiliated institution. Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) jointly fund IODP, providing maximum support of most IODP science and drilling operations.

"South Korea brings welcome intellectual and scientific resources to the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program," says Manik Talwani, president & CEO of the IODP International Management (IODP-MI)corporation. "The first to initiate a new Asian scientific ocean-drilling consortium, South Korea also brings new energy and future promise." As an IODP member nation, South Korea will contribute scientists to upcoming IODP research expeditions. The next expedition, tentatively scheduled for early summer 2007, will conduct shallow-water, subseafloor investigations along the intercontinental shelf off New Jersey's coast.

"South Korea's investment in IODP," says James Allan, IODP program director at NSF, "supports critical research that generates new scientific data about how the Earth works." By monitoring and sampling subseafloor environments, IODP scientists probe questions about climate and environmental change, solid Earth cycles and processes, and the largely unknown deep biosphere. "The more resources we bring to bear on scientific ocean-drilling investigations," adds Allan, "the more robust IODP can become, and the more we can learn about the planet we live on."

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KIGAM is expected to attract additional members to the newly established consortium. In addition to funding from Japan and the United States, IODP receives support from the European Consortium on Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD), and the People's Republic of China. ECORD includes 17 member nations and leads mission-specific expeditions, such as the upcoming New Jersey Shallow Shelf Expedition, www.ecord.org/exp/new-jersey/313.html.

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) is an international marine research drilling program dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of the Earth. Hundreds of the world's preeminent scientists participate in IODP expeditions. The program operates two drilling vessels; one provided by Japan; another provided by the United States. In addition, ECORD operates annual mission-specific expeditions that employ a variety of drilling vessels, matched to specific expedition needs. For detailed program information, see www.iodp.org.

For more information, contact:
Nancy Light
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management International
Phone: +1-202-465-7511
Fax: +1-202-955-8363
nlight@iodp.org

Cheryl Dybas
U.S. National Science Foundation
cdybas@nsf.gov


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