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Consensus Study Report
Progress and Priorities in Ocean Drilling: In Search of Earth's Past and Future


Research supported by scientific ocean drilling has fundamentally transformed our understanding of the planet with key contributions to the discovery and theory of plate tectonics; the formation and destruction of ocean crust; the reconstruction of extreme greenhouse and icehouse climates; the identification of major extinctions; and the discovery of a diverse community of microbes living deep ocean seafloor. With the retirement in 2024 of the JOIDES Resolution-- the U.S. dedicated drilling vessel for deep sea research and the workhorse for the international scientific ocean drilling community-- the scientific ocean drilling landscape will change. At this critical juncture, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is looking to identify the most urgent research questions that can only be answered with scientific ocean drilling and what infrastructure is needed to progress those priorities.

This interim report that is the first part of a broader study of decadal survey of ocean science provides a broad perspective of future research and associated infrastructure needs. The report concludes that the rapid pace of climate change, related extreme events, sea level rise, changes in ocean currents, chemistry threatening ocean ecosystems, and devastating natural hazards are among the greatest challenges facing society. By coring the past to inform the future, U.S. based scientific ocean drilling research continues to have unique and essential roles in addressing these vital and urgent challenges.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Progress and Priorities in Ocean Drilling: In Search of Earth's Past and Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

134 pages |  8.5 x 11 |  Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-309-71338-2

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