News and events
Preliminary results of IODP Wilkes Land Expedition

On 8 January Henk Brinkhuis, a staff member of Utrecht University and affiliated with the Darwin Center, joined the international research ship JOIDES Resolution sailing from New Zealand to the seas off the coast of Antarctica. He and Carlota Escutia (University of Granada, Spain) are co-chief scientists on this IODP expedition.


Preliminary results

The first cores were brought on deck on 23 January at a drilling site on the edge of the continental shelf. The cores come from a depth of 4.2 km on the side of a deep-sea canyon. Drilling this site aims to recover cores from sediment layers laid down in a greenhouse world 35-65 million years ago. Seismic interpretation indicates that a total length of over 900 meters will have to be drilled. The cores recovered to date clearly show that the older the sediments are, the less evidence there is of icebergs and glacial activity. Two earlier attempts at drilling had to be interrupted because of approaching icebergs and too coarse gravel in the uppermost sediments below the sea floor.


Exploring the history of Antarctica

The objective of this expedition is to learn more about the history of the southern ice cap by drilling the ocean floor. This ice cap formed fairly suddenly some 33 million years ago.


Co-chief scientist

Professor Henk Brinkhuis is one of two co-chief scientists leading an international team of scientists aboard the expedition ship. This research is part of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).


Follow the expedition:

Wilkes Land Expedition on Youtube

Henk Brinkhuis’ weblog (in Dutch)

Henk Brinkhuis on Twitter