Expedition Menu
1. Introduction
The Question
3. Funding
4. Study Area
5. Background
Seismogenic Zone
7. Chief Scientists
8. The Journey
9. Ship Tour
10. Leaving Port
11. Seismic Method
12. Seismic Source
13. Seismic Recording
14. 3-D Acquisition
15. Life at Sea
16. In the Lab
17. Time to Depart
18. Data Processing
19. The 3-D Volume
20. Interpretation
21. Your Turn
22. Comparison
23, Publication
24. IODP Drilling

NSF Logo
This material is based
upon work supported
by the
National Science Foundation
Grant No. 0633234


NanTroSEIZE in 3-D

Imaging an Active Plate Boundary Fault
2. The Question

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Our expedition is part of the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment, commonly known as NanTroSEIZE, which integrates marine geologic and geophysical studies of deep earthquake faults beneath the sea, which have previously been inaccessible to direct sampling and monitoring; such faults are responsible for generating tsunamis, including the one that devastated Sumatra and other shoreline areas around the Indian Ocean in December 2004.

Let's listen to Dr. Harold Tobin, the lead U.S. investigator of NanTroSEIZE, describe the scientific question being addressed in our study and by subsequent deep ocean drilling.

Many years of scientific research precede a drilling program, especially one of this scale. One of the key pieces of evidence that will guide the drilling program is an image of the earth's crust in three dimensions, produced by sound waves from a ship steaming back and forth acorss the sea surface. In this expedition, you will join the ship, the R/V Nordic Explorer, in Japan and join in the interpretation of the data in preparation for subsequent drilling by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.

Large scale oceanographic programs, on a global scale, are very expensive and require the combined expertise of the international scientific community. Consequently resources are pooled so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Indeed no one nation can provide sufficient resources, whether technical, human, or financial, to carry out research on this scale. In the case of this study, an international group of scientists from Japan, the U.S., and Europe identified the best possible area to study earthquake rupture along an active fault. which poses a significant hazard to society, through a program of ocean drilling. They then approached their respective national scientific funding agencies to undertake this decade-long, multinational project. The quality and importance of the proposed research was reviewed by their peers in the scientific community and after several years of effort, the program was approved.

©Copyright 2009
July 23, 2009

Send Comments to Don Reed

Department of Geology
San Jose State University
NanTroSEIZE Drilling Objectives
Modified from IODP Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment

How are large-scale scientific projects funded?