Letter from the USAC Chair

December, 2008

Dear Colleagues,

First let me say that I feel honored to serve as the new chair of the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC). Our broad community has long acted as a well-organized and engaged group of researchers who have collaborated at the national and international levels required to accomplish our scientific drilling goals. Those who serve on USAC exemplify this commitment, and I look forward to working with them and the drilling community at large over the next two years.

After a lengthy hiatus in drilling, while the JOIDES Resolution underwent a vast modernization, the horizon now looks promisingly bright. We can look forward with much excitement to twelve months of continuous non-riser drilling operations starting this March. The scheduled expeditions will take the JOIDES Resolution to the extremes of the Pacific Ocean, from the Bering Sea to the Wilkes Land margin of Antarctica. The Chikyu will also resume operating in 2009 with two expeditions, including the first riser drilling, as part of the ongoing Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (NanTroSEIZE). In addition, we will see mission-specific platform expeditions along the New Jersey Margin and the Great Barrier Reef. If all goes according to plan, IODP will finally realize its original vision of drilling simultaneously with three different platforms.

The upcoming year will also bring important opportunities for shaping the future of IODP beyond 2013. Toward that end, I call your attention to CHART, an online forum opening in February 2009 for the U.S. community to begin discussing and developing their ideas for program renewal. CHART will help set the stage for INVEST, planned for September 2009 in Bremen, Germany, where the international drilling community will meet to define the research goals of the next phase of IODP.

To keep abreast of the latest news, you should attend the IODP town hall meeting at AGU next week (December 16, 2008, at the InterContinental San Francisco, 888 Howard Street, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.). This year’s meeting will function as an interactive forum where you may question the IODP leaders, receive program updates, and meet other members of the community. I look forward to seeing you there.

Finally, remember that USAC represents you and wants to hear from you. Please contact me or other USAC members with your ideas, questions, or concerns. The challenges and opportunities that our community will face over the next few years will require us to work together creatively to define the future of scientific ocean drilling.

Brad Clement
USAC Chair