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Newly Upgraded, JOIDES Resolution Team Celebrates 25 Years of Leadership in Scientific Drilling

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She may be getting older, but thanks to a $155 million renovation, the drillship JOIDES Resolution (affectionately known as the “JR” by the crew) looked fresh as ever in January 2010 as she began her 25th year of service to the science community.

The JR construction project, which was made possible by the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction program, commenced in Singapore three years ago, after the rig had traveled hundreds of thousands of miles and drilled in every major ocean around the world. Upgrades included increased lab space and analytical capabilities, increased drilling capabilities, modernized living quarters and improved safety and environmental systems.

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By Jan. 25, 2009, the JR emerged newly transformed and ready to continue her important work to help scientists in their efforts to study a range of topics such as plate tectonics and the formation of ocean crust; natural disasters like landslides, earthquakes and meteorite impacts; alternative energy sources; and environmental change over the past 100 million years.

JOIDESCrew1Winter20102010 marked both the beginning and the end of an era for the JOIDES. JR Captain Pete Mowat, pictured with TAMU technical staff, retired at the end of 2009, following an 18-year career with Transocean – all of them spent on the JOIDES.

Back to Business, Setting Records
The JR was quite busy in 2009, completing many expeditions – the Pacific Equatorial Age Transect (PEAT, completed in two parts) near Hawaii, the Bering Sea expedition near Alaska, the Shatsky Rise expedition near Japan and the Canterbury expedition near New Zealand.

The ship set a new advanced piston coring record during PEAT, a record only to be shattered in July 2009 (at 458 meters – 1,500 feet – below the seafloor) during the Bering Sea expedition. During the Canterbury expedition late in 2009, a new record was set for drilling the deepest sediment hole during a single expedition at 1,927 meters – 6,300 feet – below the seafloor.

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Full Speed Ahead
As of press time, the JR was drilling off the coast of Wilkes Land, Antarctica, to understand the history of the Antarctic ice sheet over the past several million years. Understanding the behavior of the ice sheet is important for placing constraints on climate models that aim to predict future climate change and sea level rise.

Plans are being made to ensure that the JR continues in scientific drilling for years to come. To learn more about the JR, including the latest updates on her location and activities, visit www.iodp-usio.org.

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Copyright © 2010 Transocean LTD.

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