Record-breaking hole drilled off coast of Japan

On 14 May 2021, a team of scientists dug the deepest ocean hole ever, reaching a depth of nearly five miles below the ocean’s surface. The team of researchers penetrated the surface all the way to the bottom of the Japan trench in the western Pacific Ocean. In addition, researchers extracted a 120-foot sediment core using a Giant Piston Corer (GPC) making it the deepest sub-level sample ever recovered.

In 2011, the nearby region was devastated by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake whose epicenter was very close to the research site. Known as the Tohoku-oki earthquake, the event spawned a massive tsunami that smashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The researchers are currently examining the sediment core, hoping to learn more about the trench’s earthquake history.

For further exploration:

Expedition 386 Blog

Live Science Article on Japan Tectonics

Live Science Article on 2011 Earthquake in Japan

Engineering Seismology with Applications to Geotechnical Engineering