1. TOP
  2. Press Release
  3. International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 402 Tyrrhenian Continent-Ocean Transition

International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 402 Tyrrhenian Continent-Ocean Transition


As part of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)※1, JOIDES Resolution※2 research cruise IODP Expedition 402 is set to begin on 9 February 2024 (see addendum).

Totally twenty-six researchers from Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United States are scheduled to join this research cruise, including three Japanese onboard research participants.

Supplemental 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


Tyrrhenian Continent-Ocean Transition

1. Schedule (local time)

IODP Expedition 402

9 February 2024
Research cruise begins (Port of departure: Naples, Italy)
8 April 2024
Research cruise finishes (Port of return: Naples, Italy)
※The schedule may change depending upon the condition/inflences of COVID-19, the progress in sailing preparations, weather conditions, research activities, etc.

2. Scientists scheduled to participate from Japan

Name Affiliation / position Specialized field
Norikatsu Akizawa Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute
University of Tokyo / Assistant Professor
Inorganic Geochemist
Noriaki Abe Tono Geoscience Center, Japan Atomic Energy
Agency (JAEA) / Doctoral Fellow
Physical Properties Specialist
Tomoaki Morishita School of Geosciences and Civil Engineering
College of Science and Engineering
Kanazawa University / Professor
Igneous Petrologist

3 Research Purposes and Objectives

The discovery in the 1980s of exposed mantle in the continent–ocean transition west of Iberia started an ongoing debate on the mechanisms of lithospheric extension and mantle exhumation, on the definition of continental break-up and initial seafloor spreading, on the nature of the continent–ocean transition, and on the first emplacement of oceanic crust. Our imperfect understanding of continent–ocean transition processes and of the onset of seafloor spreading is largely due to the worldwide limitation on drilling basement rocks typically buried under several kilometers of sediments. There are four main reasons to drill the Tyrrhenian Basin: it is very young and consequently has a thin sedimentary cover; its bedrock lithology and stratigraphy is extremely well documented by more than 40 y of academic investigations; a 30 m section of partially serpentinized peridotite has been already recovered in the center of the basin; and extensive recent seismic refraction and reflection experiments suggest that most of the basement in the center of the Tyrrhenian is made of exhumed mantle. Expedition 402 will drill two perpendicular transects. An east–west transect will target the progression from magmatic crust to exposed mantle; a north–south transect will map the fault zone that exhumed mantle. Drilling will sample the mantle, the associated magmas, and the products of syntectonic, and possibly ongoing, fluid-rock interaction to evaluate the geochemical exchange between the lithosphere and the hydrosphere and potential related ecosystems.

Zitellini, N., Malinverno, A., and Estes, E.R., 2023. Expedition 402 Scientific Prospectus: Tyrrhenian Continent–Ocean Transition. International Ocean Discovery Program.


Figure Topographic map of the continent and seafloor in the study are with the locations of the planned drilling sites.
The orange and yellow circles represent the primary target site and alternate site, respectively (cited from IODP Exp. 402 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
TYR-09A 3,544 418 11
TYR-07A 2,711 265 5
TYR-12A 3,601 723 13
TYR-10A 3,555 435 10
TYR-02A 2,824 632 8
TYR-11A 3,549 342 10

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.

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