iodp-Status Report

Within its first phase India became member of IODP in 2009, the scientific objectives were organized into three major themes: (a) The Deep Biosphere and the Sub-seafloor Ocean; (b) Environmental Change, Processes and Effects; and (c) Solid Earth Cycles and Geodynamics.

Among these three themes, the following eight initiatives were identified to be taken up during first decade of IODP drilling: Deep Biosphere; Extreme Climates; Rapid Climate Change; Continental Breakup and Sedimentary Basin Formation; Large Igneous Provinces; Gas Hydrates; 21st Century Mohole; Seismogenic Zone. 

Soon after India’s joining as an IODP member, a concrete Science Plan of its own was envisioned addressing the scientific issues pertaining to the seas around Indian Ocean which call for deep-drilling. An Expert Group constituted by MoES to further capacitate the IODP agenda guided NCAOR, Goa to address the following research themes:

  1. Crustal Evolution: with special attention to Western continental margin, Eastern continental margin, Andaman Sea, Mid Ocean Ridges
  2. Gas Hydrates: Sediment characteristics, BSR characteristics and GH occurrence
  3. Climate change: Timing of the SW monsoon and NE monsoon and their later evolution; and Sediment fluxes in BOB through time and linkages with Himalayan Orogeny

International workshop on “Scientific drilling in the Indian Ocean sector” in Goa was organized during October 16-18, 2011.  The workshop was focused to highlight the key problems in the Indian Ocean sector that require immediate attention from the deep ocean drilling point of view.  It was attended by more than 150 Scientists (50 International and 100 Indians) from various parts of the world including India, USA, UK, France, Japan, Australia, Germany, Korea, Indonesia etc.  Since this was the first ever IODP workshop in India, it provided a great platform for the scientific community to share and debate the geo-scientific problems in the Indian Ocean Sector. This workshop was spread over two days with four parallel sessions and more than 100 papers /ideas were discussed which would form the basis of future drilling proposals in the Indian Ocean sector. The workshop was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand IODP office as well as IODP Management International. After much deliberation, several key drilling expeditions- 353, 354, 355, 356, 359, 360 and 362 emerged from this meeting.

Expedition 355: The proposal titled “Deep sea drilling in the Arabian Sea: constraining tectonic-monsoon interactions in South Asia” – IODP 355 Expedition was approved by the evaluation panels and took place from Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 31st March 2015 which ended in Mumbai, India, on 31st May 2015. Its key research objectives were:

  1. Reconstruct long-term changes in erosion and weathering rates at sub-millennial to millennial timescales in order to compare with existing records of high frequency climatic variability.
  2. Reconstruct changes in erosion and weathering intensity over tectonic timescales and assess whether any changes occurred at ~23, 15, and 10–8 Ma to test earlier hypotheses that invoke changes in monsoon intensity at those times.
  3. Decipher the nature of basement rocks in Laxmi Basin and constrain the timing of early seafloor spreading and the relationship to the emplacement of Deccan Flood Basalts.


Current IODP Expedition: The proposal titled “South China Sea Rifted Margin: Testing hypotheses for lithosphere thinning during continental breakup, drilling at the South China Sea rifted margin” – IODP 367/368 Expedition has been scheduled in two phases. Phase I started from Hong Kong, on 07th February 2017 and will end in Hong Kong, on 09th April 2017 and Phase II starts from Hong Kong, on 09th April 2017 and ends in Shanghai, China, on 11th June 2017.  Its key research objectives are:

  1. To determine the nature of the basement within critical crustal units across the COT of the SCS rifted margin in order to discriminate between different competing models of breakup at magma-poor rifted margins. Specifically, to determine if the subcontinental lithospheric mantle was exhumed during plate rupture.
  2. To determine the time lag between plate rupture and asthenospheric upwelling that allowed decompression melting to generate igneous ocean crust.
  3. To constrain the rate of extension and vertical crustal movements.
  4. To improve the understanding of the Cenozoic regional tectonic and environmental development of the Southeast Asia margin and SCS by combining Expedition 367/368 results with existing ODP/IODP sediment records and regional seismic data.



Mr. Rajeev Yadav, an Indian Scientist from NCAOR, Goa is participating in expedition-367 as Physical Properties Specialist.  The expedition is led by Dr. Zhen Sun (P.R. China) & Dr. Joann M. Stock (USA) besides ~30 other scientists from different countries.

The scientific prospectus is located at 


To download reports click below link

1. IODP Status report click here

2. Indian participation in IODP click here