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Doctoral Student Joins Prestigious Research Expedition

Doctoral Student Joins Prestigious Research Expedition

University of Tennessee Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences doctoral student Jesse Scholpp embarked on a prestigious research expedition on the JOIDES Resolution (JR) vessel in Expedition 391. The JR drills into the ocean floor and collects samples from the Earth’s core. Scholpp joined fellow scientists from all over the globe in examining the samples for critical information regarding climate change, geology, and the Earth's history.

The expedition is a part of the International Ocean Discovery program that is funded by the National Science Foundation. The expedition sailed to the Walvis Ridge off the coast of southwestern Africa. This is where the team of scientists drilled into the volcanic ridge a part of the Tristan-Gough hotspot that began about 132 million years ago. The boreholes at the drill sites go as deep as 4,000 meters below the sea surface.

Scholpp and his colleagues' goal was to gather sediments and rocks from below the seabed to help them understand important information about the earth’s core. Specifically, this will provide further information on how oceanic plates evolve, the chemical make-up of the Earth’s mantle, and formations of volcanic hotspot chains such as Tristan-Gough. They collected samples at three separate locations on the Valdivia Bank to learn more information about the hotspot’s origin. 

The expedition was originally supposed to set sail in December 2020. The pandemic, however,  affected this date. After setting sail in December 2021, the vessel took several precautions to COVID-19 and the scientists and crew were able to carry out a successful expedition that was completed in February 2022.

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