Australasian IODP Regional Planning Workshop

Australian Scientific Ocean Drilling (1968-2018), from Geoscience Australia

Figure Credit: Geoscience Australia [Click for larger image]

Time: June 13-16, 2017


Location: Sydney, Australia


Workshop Conveners: Neville Exon (Australian National University), Karsten Gohl (Alfred Wegener Institut), Michael Gurnis (California Institute of Technology), Stuart Henrys (GNS Science, Wellington), Fumio Inagaki (JAMSTEC), Rob McKay (Victoria University, Wellington), Dietmar Mueller (University of Sydney, Conference Host), Dhananjai Pandey (NCAOR, India), Amelia Shevenell (University of South Florida), and Jessica Whiteside (University of Southampton)


Workshop Final Report (PDF)

The geographic scope of the Australasian Workshop is the eastern Indian Ocean, the southwest Pacific Ocean, and the Indian and Pacific sectors of the Southern Ocean. The workshop will highlight all four themes of the IODP 2013-2023 Science Plan. The importance of the southern hemisphere in the narratives of global plate tectonics and oceanography is well established, but under-studied. This is in large part due to the vastness of the regional oceans. Simply stated, the Australasia region is arguably the ideal region to address many of the fourteen science challenges: the Australian and Indian continents have undergone the largest and most rapid paleo-latitudinal shifts – essential to address both paleoclimate and tectonic questions; the region boasts arguably the greatest diversity of subduction zones from fully seismically coupled to uncoupled; the greatest array of youthful subduction zones globally; an extensive set of shallow marine seas and submerged continents (especially Zealandia) with extraordinary stratigraphic records waiting to be studied; and not only the largest suite of plume-related products but the largest mantle cold spot. Without a doubt, another round of IODP drilling within Australasia will dramatically improve our understanding of our planet’s evolution. Sampling of plateaus and ridges will not only provide an enormous wealth of information about their origin, but will also provide key samples to address paleoceanographic and paleoclimate questions. Further drilling of the Antarctic margin will increase our understanding of global and regional questions related to Antarctic ice sheet and global climate evolution and past land and sea ice extent from the Cretaceous through the Cenozoic. Geomicrobiological questions can be addressed on a number of expeditions, including carefully targeted, dominantly microbiological expeditions to study the deep biosphere in a variety of tectonic settings. Petrological and geochemical studies of ocean, backarc and arc crust, and of uplifted mantle remain a high priority, as do those of geological hazards.


The goal of the Australasian workshop is to trigger development of new IODP proposals and reinvigorate existing, compelling proposals. The workshop will be an opportunity to entrain a new generation of young scientists to work collaboratively to plan a new phase of ocean drilling in the Australasian region. The workshop will cover all possible IODP platforms, not just the JOIDES Resolution. European-funded alternative platforms are suitable for work in shallow-water reefal areas and on the Antarctic continental shelf. There is considerable optimism that IODP Proposal 871, for the use of the Chikyu to drill deep into the Cretaceous on the Lord Howe Rise, will soon come to fruition and provide strong encouragement for those hoping to use the Chikyu elsewhere in the Australasian region.

The meeting will be held June 13-16, 2017 on the campus of Sydney University, Sydney Australia.


The Workshop Agenda is undergoing frequent updates as planning continues. Updates are posted at:

Special call for early career researchers from U.S. institutions to apply for USSSP funding to participate in the Australasian workshop. The workshop will be an opportunity to entrain a new generation of young scientists to work collaboratively to plan a new phase of ocean drilling in the Australasian region. The deadline for early career applicants has been extended to April 17th.


This workshop is co-funded through a workshop award from the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP), the IODP Program Member Office for the U.S. This special call invites applications from early career researchers (PhD students and post-docs) from U.S. institutions. It is anticipated that 5 to 6 early career researchers can receive travel support to join the workshop.


All interested early career participants should submit a single PDF document, including (1) a two-page CV; (2) a 100-word statement of interest; and (3) for those wishing to give a short talk, a 1-page Abstract, to Mike Gurnis ( no later than April 17, 2017. Any questions concerning support for U.S. participation can be directed to Mike Gurnis (



Support is available for a limited number of participants from IODP Program Member Offices (PMOs), including: the Australia-New Zealand IODP Consortium (ANZIC); the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP); the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD); IODP India; and Japan Drilling Earth Science Consortium (J-DESC). Support from these programs will be made directly to qualified participants from the PMOs.




Complete information about the workshop can be found here: Australasian IODP Regional Planning Workshop


Additional questions concerning support for U.S. participation can be directed to Mike Gurnis (