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August 8, 2023

International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 400
NW Greenland Glaciated Margin

As part of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP, *1), JOIDES Resolution (*2) research cruise IODP Expedition 400 is set to begin on 12 August 2023 (see addendum). Understanding the history of the Greenland ice sheet and the mechanisms of glacial action in the Northern Hemisphere is key to predicting modern climate warming systems. IODP Expedition 400 will drill through continuous thick semi-pelagic and glacial marine sediments from the Oligocene to Holocene at seven proposed sites along the Northwest Greenland margin in Northeast Baffin Bay.

Twenty-seven researchers from China, Denmark, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States are scheduled to join the research cruise, including two Japanese onboard research participants.

【Supplementary Information】

International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)
This international scientific research cooperative project started in October 2013. By drilling deep below the ocean floors using drilling vessels provided by Japan (JAMSTEC DV Chikyu), the United States (JOIDES Resolution), and Europe (Mission-Specific Platforms), IODP promotes research aimed at elucidating the internal structure and the biosphere within and below the Earth’s crust.
JOIDES Resolution
The JOIDES Resolution Science Operator (JRSO) manages and operates the riserless drillship, JOIDES Resolution, for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). The JRSO is based in the College of Geosciences of Texas A&M University.
JOIDES Resolution ©IODP


NW Greenland Glaciated Margin

1. Schedule (local time)
  IODP Expedition 400

12 August, 2023
Research cruise begins (Port of departure: Reykjavík, Iceland)
12 October, 2023
Research cruise finishes (Port of return: Reykjavík, Iceland)

※ The schedule may change depending upon the condition/inflences of COVID-19, the progress in sailing preparations, weather conditions, and/or research activities.

2. Scientists scheduled to participate from Japan

Name Affiliation / position Specialized field
Osamu Seki Institute of Low Temperature Science
Hokkaido University / Associate Professor
Organic Geochemist
Yuka Yokoyama School of Marine Science and Technology
Tokai University / Assistant Professor
Physical Properties Specialist

3. Research Purposes and Objectives
Elucidating the long-term history of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is essential for understanding glacial instability thresholds, identified as major climate system tipping points, and how the cryosphere will respond to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. To address current knowledge gaps in the evolution and variability of the GrIS and its role in Earth's climate system, International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 400 will obtain cores from seven sites across the northwest Greenland margin into Baffin Bay where thick Cenozoic sedimentary successions can be directly linked to the evolution of the northern GrIS (NGrIS).

The strategy of drilling along this transect is to retrieve a composite stratigraphic succession representing the Late Cenozoic era from the Oligocene/Early Miocene to Holocene. The proposed sites will specifically target high–accumulation rate deposits associated with contourite drifts and potential interglacial deposits within a trough mouth fan system densely covered by seismic data. We seek to test if the NGrIS underwent near-complete deglaciations in the Pleistocene and to assess the ice sheet’s response to changes in orbital cyclicities through the mid-Pleistocene transition. Paleoclimate records will be obtained that can provide chronology on the NGrIS expansion and unravel potential linkages between marine heat transport through Baffin Bay and high Arctic warmth during the Pliocene. A deep coring site (980 meters below seafloor) targeting a Miocene and Oligocene strata succession will examine possible linkages between changes in atmospheric CO2 and climate-ecosystem conditions in Greenland. The overall aim is to investigate the full range of forcings and feedbacks—oceanic, atmospheric, orbital, and tectonic—that influence the GrIS over a range of timescales, as well as conditions prevailing at the time of glacial inception and deglacial to interglacial periods. The data and results gathered from Expedition 400 will effectively constrain predictive models addressing the GrIS response to global warming and its impending effects on global sea levels.

Knutz, P., Jennings, A., and Childress, L.B., 2022. Expedition 400 Scientific Prospectus: NW Greenland Glaciated Margin. International Ocean Discovery Program.


Figure.  Locations of drilling sites and broad area map. The orange circles represent the primary target sites and the yellow circles represent alternate site. The purple square in the small map indicates the planned port of entry and exit Reykjavik, Iceland. (From IODP Exp. 400 Scientific Prospectus)

Table  List of drilling sites in the projected target
Site / borehole name Water depth (m) Target drilling depth (m) No. of scheduled working days
MB-23A 1,821 422 9
MB-02C 1,957 522 9
MB-31A 531 282 5
MB-30A 618 303 3
MB-06D 614 561 5
MB-17A 655 230 3
MB-07B 736 978 13

Note: * Drilling sites may change depending upon sailing preparations, weather conditions, and/or research progress.

*Figure is cited from the IODP website with partial modification.
IODP JRSO・Expeditions・NW Greenland Glaciated Margin

【Reference】 IODP Copyright Statement


For IODP and this scientific expedition
Saneatsu Saito, Deputy Director, Operations Department, Institute for Marine-Earth Exploration and Engineering
For press release
Press Office, Marine Science and Technology Strategy Department
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