Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 20 Issue 01

View Issue TOC
Volume 20, No. 1
Pages 66 - 77

Drilling the Crust at Mid-Ocean Ridges: An "In Depth" Perspective

Benoît Ildefonse Peter A. Rona Donna Blackman
First Paragraph

In April 1961, 13.5 m of basalts were drilled off Guadalupe Island about 240 km west of Mexico’s Baja California, together with a few hundred meters of Miocene sediments, in about 3500 m of water. This first-time exploit, reported by John Steinbeck for Life magazine, aimed to be the test phase for the considerably more ambitious Mohole project, whose objective was to drill through the oceanic crust down to Earth’s mantle (Lill and Bascom, 1959; Bascom, 1961). Born in the late 1950s, the Mohole project unfortunately ended in muddy waters and was terminated by the United States Congress in 1965 (Shor, 1985; Greenberg, 1971). Undeterred, the scientific community rallied again to launch the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) in 1968, followed by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) in 1985, and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) in 2003. These programs have provided solutions to some of the most pressing and interesting problems in ocean and earth science (see, for example, Oceanography 19-4, December 2006).


Ildefonse, B., P.A. Rona, and D. Blackman. 2007. Drilling the crust at mid-ocean ridges: An “in depth” perspective. Oceanography 20(1):66–77, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.81.