Professor U goes on an expedition to sample rocks from the seabed

Sarah Lambart, assistant professor of geology and geophysics, has been invited to sail as a petrologist on the upcoming International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) expedition. World famous research vessel JOIDES Resolution (JR) to leave Reykjavik port, Iceland on August 6e and sail for two full months on the Norwegian coast. During the expedition, the team will drill rock core into the ocean floor along the continental margin. As part of the Core Description Lab, Lambart will be responsible for describing the textures and mineralogical assemblages of the igneous rocks collected.

Due to COVID restrictions, the ship will only sail with a partial science section. Lambart and the other members of the sailing team will communicate daily progress and observations with the shore team.

The mission explores a geological anomaly associated with the dislocation of North America and Europe and the formation of the North Atlantic Ocean, beginning at the start of the Cenozoic era. The North Atlantic break-up event generated too much magma volume to be explained by the type of volcanic activity occurring today along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Three different hypotheses exist to explain this excess of magma: 1) high temperatures in the mantle associated with an ascending plume of matter, 2) movement of matter on a small scale due to convection at the base of the lithosphere, and 3) variation of the composition of the coat. While all three hypotheses might play a role in the rupture event, the relative importance of each of the mechanisms remains unresolved.

After the expedition, Lambart and members of the MagMaX Laboratory at the University of Utah will study the collected rocks, in particular the large mineral grains which can record information about the temperature and the variability of the mantle source and will be used to discriminate the different hypotheses.

Learn more about shipping here and follow the cruise on Twitter at @LeJR or on Instagram at @ JOIDES_resolution.

About Lucille Thompson

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