Reaching the Mantle Frontier: Moho and Beyond – A Three-Day Workshop

September 9 – 11, 2010
The Carnegie Institution of Washington
5251 Broad Branch Road NW
Washington, DC

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Conference Description

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) is a well-established international partnership of scientists and research institutions organized to explore Earth’s structure and history through scientific ocean drilling. Its efforts are now complemented by the recently formed Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) which is a multi-disciplinary, international initiative dedicated to achieving a transformational understanding of Earth’s deep carbon cycle—including deep carbon mantle reservoirs and fluxes, the role of deep biology, and the influences of the deep carbon cycle on critical societal concerns related to energy, environment and climate.

Both the IODP and DCO recognize that a longstanding goal of the ocean drilling community—to reach the mantle and in the process penetrate the entire ocean crust and the Mohorovicic discontinuity—will benefit from an opportunity for a broad scientific community to consider the opportunities and challenges of this goal in the context of both scientific and technical perspectives. The DCO would like to help engage this broader community and invites them to consider the likely impacts of reaching the mantle on the scientific goals and strategies being identified by the growing DCO community. Important questions to address are: (1) What is the most reasonable and feasible pathway to reach the pristine mantle rock? (2) What novel methods can extract completely new information about our planet? (3) How might reaching the mantle complement and contribute to DCO scientific goals? To this end the IODP and DCO are co-sponsoring a three-day workshop.

The workshop attendees will include key scientists and engineers from academia and industries that aspire reaching the mantle in a timeframe of 15-20 years. The purpose of this workshop is to identify key scientific objectives associated with innovative technology specifications along with associated timelines and costs for developments and implementation. The workshop’s ultimate goal is to produce a realistic roadmap for penetrating the Moho and reaching the mantle portion of Earth. Such a project will require the concerted efforts of the international scientific and engineering communities who share aspirations in direct exploration of the deep interior of Earth.

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