Expedition 340: Lesser Antilles Volcanism and Landslides

6 March 2012 to 17 April 2012

San Juan, Puerto Rico to Curacao, Dutch Antilles

Co-Chief Scientist: Anne Le Friant (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France)

Co-Chief Scientist: Osamu Ishizuka (Geological Survey of Japan)

Expedition Project Manager/Staff Scientist: NIcole Stroncik (Texas A&M, USA)

Logging Staff Scientist: Angela Slagle (Lamont-Doherty of Columbia University, USA)

Education Officer: Teresa Greely (College Marine Science, University of South Florida, USA)


Expedition Summary

Have you ever wondered about Volcanoes, Landslides or Earthquakes? How volcanic islands are formed? Why they form, and when? How and why scientists study volcanoes? Maybe curious about volcanic hazards, eruptions and underwater avalanches? You are in the right place... this is where island volcanoes are being explored from the ocean's floor.

Join Expedition 340 scientists as we decipher volcanic processes along the island arc of the Lesser Antilles (also known as the Caribbees). The islands of the Lesser Antilles form the eastern boundary of  the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The Caribbean islands are regions of intense seismic activity, including frequent earthquakes, occasional tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. The more we know about what controls volcanic processes the better we can understand their dynamics and the potential geohazards created by them.

Most of our understanding of  these island volcanoes is from studies on land which provides only part of the geologic record. But now during Expedition 340 we will explore the rest of the geologic story by recovering cores and marine deposits of volcanic debris from the ocean floor. By retrieving ocean-based cores that cover more than a million years of magmatic activity and sampling directly through volcanic avalanche deposits, additional pieces of the geology puzzle will be discovered. Then by combining the land and ocean-based geologic records a more complete volcanic story can be composed about island arc volcanism.

Our mission

During the 40 day sail aboard the JR it is our goal to retrieve  9 cores from the ocean floor (refer to above map) in order to document the history and dynamics of three volcanic centers of the Lesser Antilles island arc. From these cores scientists will attempt to represent the full range of observed volcanic behavior. Read more later once we are underway.

A little geology

Today's beautiful Caribbean Islands likely emerged from the ocean floor many millions of years ago. In terms of geology, the younger Lesser Antilles are mostly young volcanic or coral islands, distinct from the Greater Antilles, which are composed of continental rock. Many of the islands were formed by subduction of oceanic crust of the North American Plate under the Caribbean Plate in the Lesser Antilles subduction zone. This process of subduction is ongoing and is why there are frequent volcanoes and earthquakes.

How can I get involved?

  • Follow along during the expedition by reading the http://joidesresolution.org/blog/281<340 Expedition blog entries written by scientists, educators adn crew members. Learn about the science behind the expedition, as well as Life At Sea Aboard the JR! You can also read co-chief scientist Anne Le Friant's blog, which will be featured in France.
  • Check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter (@TheJR) for daily updates, including photos and videos. You can also see weekly photos of our expedition in the IODP Friends & Family Gallery
  • The LIVE videoconference schedule is now full! Watch for a link to the next expedition coming soon.
  • Interviews with Scientists
  • Virtual Tours of the Vessel
  • Life at Sea (ask questions about living on a ship, food, recreation, etc.)
  • Teacher's Feedback & Requests to gather teaching resources and artifacts for the Classroom

Where can I learn more?

Here are some resources to help you learn more about the science and mission of our expedition. Follow the links to teaching resources, instructional YouTube videos, and requests for additional information Ask a Scientist request form.


Who's Onboard the JR?

View Science Staff Expedition 340 < in a larger map

Here's a Google Map to show where each fo the members of Expedition 340: Lesser Antilles Volcanism and Landslides science party is from. Click on a placemarker to find out who is from each location.