The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), an international program of scientific ocean drilling, is the successor program to the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP). ODP began its field operations with a shakedown and sea trials cruise in January 1985 in the Gulf of Mexico Approximately every two months since that time, an internationally staffed expedition of our drilling research vessel the SEDCOBP 471 (Fig I), better known to the scientific community as the Joudes Resolution, has taken place in very remote but geologically important areas of the world's oceans (refs 1–4).

The Joudes Resolutionhas drilled at over 100 sites (as of November, 1987) in the North Atlantic, including the Norwegian Sea, Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay, and Mediterranean Sea; in the eastern Pacific off the Galapagos and coast of Peru; in the Weddell Sea and Subantarctic South Atlantic, and in regions of the Indian Ocean (Fig 2).


The Joudes Resolution has a seven-storey laboratory structure located forward of the derrick on the star-board side. Within this unique structure are separate laboratory spaces containing state-of-the-art equipment for shipboard analyses for study of the physical properties if sediments and rock, palaeomagnetics, palaeontology, and petrology. They are well-equipped laboratories for inorganic and organic chemical analyses and for analyses by X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence. The scientific tasks are also supported by a photographic laboratory, an electronics repair shop, the capability for gathering analog and digital underway geophysical data, a global positioning navigation system, a central computer processing unit with 50 microcomputers distributed throughout the laboratory spaces, and an excellent reference library. The ship has living quarters for up to 50 scientists and technical support staff and a crew of 65. It can drill in water depths exceeding 8 km.


The major thrusts thus far within the Ocean Drilling Program can be summarized as follows.


Testing operational limits of Joudes Resolution

High latitude operation


Retrieval of sedimentary rocks

Retrieval of basement (basaltic) rock



Continental margins

Ocean Crust

Fig 1 Joides Resoultion, drillship for the Ocean Drilling Program. Note Laboratory module on starboard side forward of the derrick. (available in full paper)

Fig 2 Site Locations for Leg 100–123 (available in full paper)


The Joudes Resolution's dynamic positioning system includes capability for station keeping using long-baseline, short baseline, and ultra-short-baseline systems. It is supported by 12 powerful 800 hp retractable thrusters, as well as by two main propellers, each driven by six 750 hp motors. In the operational mode, the station keeping system should hold the ship to ±2% of water depths, with wind limits of 45 knots, gusts to 60 knots, significant wave height of 15 feet, maximum wave height of 27 feet, and surface currents of 2.5 knots, provide the prevailing environment is within 30° of the bow or stern (ref 6).

Because of its size and displacement, Joides Resolution has proven itself a remarkably stable drilling platform for work in hostile sea conditions.

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