International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 349 and Multidisciplinary Research in the South China Sea
Abstract:The South China Sea (SCS) is one of the largest low-latitude marginal seas in the world, serving as a natural laboratory for studying the linkages between complex tectonic, volcanic, and oceanic processes. The last several years have witnessed significant progress in investigation of the SCS through comprehensive research programs using multidisciplinary approaches and enhanced international collaboration. In January-March 2014, International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 349 drilled and cored five sites in the SCS, with three sites located near the relict spreading center in the East and Southwest Subbasins and two sites near the transition zone between the oceanic and continental crust (Expedition 349 Scientists, 2014). The expedition successfully obtained the first basaltic rock samples of the SCS relict spreading center, discovered large and frequent deep-sea turbidity events, and sampled multiple seamount volcaniclastic layers. The Expedition 349 shipboard and shorebased research involves the participation and strong collaboration of scientists from the international community including scientists from countries and regions surrounding the SCS. Meanwhile, major progress in studying the SCS processes has also been made through comprehensive multidisciplinary programs, for example, the “South China Sea Deep” initiative (Wang, 2012). This presentation will highlight the recent multidisciplinary research initiatives in investigation of the SCS and the important role of international collaboration.
Expedition 349 Scientists, 2014. South China Sea tectonics: Opening of the South China Sea and its implications for southeast Asian tectonics, climates, and deep mantle processes since the late Mesozoic. International Ocean Discovery Program Preliminary Report, 349. http://dx.doi.org/10.14379/iodp.pr.349.2014.
Wang, P., 2012. Tracing the life history of a marginal sea—on “The South China Sea Deep” research program. Chinese Science Bulletin, 57(24), 3093–3114. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11434-012-5087-1.