In a blog post last week, the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD), Institute for Marine-Earth Exploration and Engineering (MarE3) and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 386 announced that the team had reached two new depth records in scientific ocean drilling and coring.
The researchers also reportedly collected the deepest sub-sea level sample at just more than 5 miles deep.
“Forty-three years ago the legendary Drilling Vessel Glomar Challenger set the record for the deepest coring site in 50 years of scientific ocean drilling, by recovering two 15.5 and 20.5 m long cores from 7,034 and 7,029-meter water depth in the Mariana Trench (DSDP Leg 60 Site 461),” the expedition’s co-chief scientist Michael Strasser wrote.
“This record has stood for all this time, until in the early morning of Friday, May 14, 2021, Captain Naoto Kimura of the Research Vessel Kaimei positioned the vessel at IODP Expedition 386 Site M0081, where the water depth is 8023 m,” the University of Innsbruck professor said.
According to Strasser’s report, the crew aboard the Kaimei lowered a drill into the water, taking 2 hours and 40 minutes to reach just above the seafloor.
The drill – called the giant piston corer – was then recovered along with almost 124 feet of sediment core.
Strasser said that the previous deepest sub-sea level sample was taken from a site with a water depth of just over 4 miles.
“We greatly acknowledge the tremendous efforts of the Captain and his crew to safely carry out such challenging ultra-deep water coring operations and look forward to now undertaking scientific analyses on these samples from the deepest of the deep,” he wrote.
According to Live Science, the drill site is located close to the epicenter of the devastating 2011 Tōhoku earthquake in the Japan Trench.