24 March 2011
Drillers propose deep-Earth quest
By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News
This spring, scientists will try to retrieve the deepest types of rock ever extracted from beneath the seabed.The drilling project is taking place off Costa Rica, and will attempt to reach some 2km under the ocean floor.Writing in the journal Nature, the co-chief scientists say their ultimate goal is to return even deeper samples - from the mantle layer below the crust.Obtaining these rocks would provide a geological treasure trove "comparable to the Apollo lunar rocks" they write.One of the co-chiefs, Damon Teagle from the University of Southampton, UK, told BBC News: "There are some fundamental questions about the way that the Earth has evolved over its history that we will only be able to answer once we completely understand the structure of the crust overlaying the mantle, the interface between the mantle and the crust (known as the Mohorovicic Discontinuity, or Moho), and then also the nature of the mantle itself."Researchers do not expect to have the necessary technology and funding in place to begin drilling into the mantle much before about 2018.This spring's expedition, to be conducted on the American Joides Resolution ship, will re-open a previously drilled hole called 1256D.It will allow scientists to recover for the first time gabbros from the lower crust. These samples will be the deepest rocks of their type ever extracted from beneath the sea floor.
Read full story here : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12841150
I wonder if they will find any interesting fossils on their way down or anything unusual ? All I keep thinking of is the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story : When the Earth Screamed..........
Challenger & Company: the Complete Adventures of Professor Challenger and His Intrepid Team-The Lost World, The Poison Belt, The Land of Mists, The Disintegration Machine and When the World Screamed