AbstractInternational Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 385T will revisit two Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) and Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) legacy sites—Holes 504B and 896A on the Costa Rica Rift flank—to advance lithostratigraphic, hydrogeological, and deep biosphere studies of upper oceanic crust. Hole 504B has served as a standard reference site for upper oceanic crust for decades despite low core recovery during drilling operations. Hole 896A serves as an analog site of crustal alteration for examining biogeography in the crustal deep biosphere. During Expedition 385T, we will advance lithostratigraphic records of in situ crustal architecture through Formation MicroScanner (FMS) logging, with priority for these operations in Hole 504B. The new logs from Hole 504B will reveal whether unrecovered intervals are highly fractured and/or brecciated and whether alteration style and intensity are correlated to volcanic architecture, which will allow for assessment of the hypothesis that hydrothermal alteration and mineralization style are spreading-rate dependent. We will also advance crustal hydrogeological and deep biosphere research through temperature logging and water sampling in both holes, with priority for these operations in Hole 896A. The new FMS-based lithostratigraphy coupled with new fluid assessment will also allow for improvements on the thermal limits of microbial life and seawater-basalt reactions. These operations in Holes 504B and 896A have direct relevance to Challenges 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, and 14 of the IODP 2013–2023 Science Plan. To achieve these data and sample recoveries from these legacy sites, existing wireline observatories installed in both holes will be removed and the remaining cased holes will be left open for possible future installation of next-generation observatories. The expedition will be implemented as an abbreviated (10 operational days) expedition with no new coring.
To quantify the potential for biological contamination associated with the coring process, we conducted perfluorocarbon tracer (PFT) analysis on 556 sediment samples from Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 329. The expedition cored deep-sea sediment at seven sites in the South Pacific Gyre (Sites U1365–U1371). We analyzed two types of sediment samples: (1) samples taken in the central part of the core (i.e., interior samples) and (2) samples taken near the core edge (i.e., exterior samples). We calculated the amount of potential drilling fluid intrusion from the mass of PFT that we measured in each sample. For the seven Expedition 329 sites (15 holes analyzed), PFT content ranges from below detection to levels where contamination is extremely apparent. The centers of the sediment cores (interior samples) contained generally less PFT than the core margins (exterior samples) and thus have lower potential drilling fluid (DF) contamination. The majority of sediment samples (interior) at Sites U1370 and U1371 have a contamination potential close to or below detection levels (i.e., 1.19 × 10–4 ngPFT/gsediment or 1.78 × 10–3 µLDF/gsediment on average). We observed higher contamination values (i.e., 7.28 × 10–3 ngPFT/gsediment or 6.98 × 10–2 µLDF/gsediment on average) at Sites U1365, U1366, and U1367. Finally, we measured much higher PFT concentrations throughout the sediment of Sites U1368 and U1369 (i.e., 5.48 × 10–2 ngPFT/gsediment or 6.60 × 10–1 µLDF/gsediment on average). We observe no apparent correlation of sample PFT content to sediment lithology, degree of sediment disturbance, core section number, or porosity.