Hole 504B reclaimed for future drilling


  • Leg 137 Scientific Drilling Party


Hole 504B, perhaps the most important in situ reference section for the structure and composition of the oceanic crust, has been reopened for future drilling and downhole measurements after remedial operations during Leg 137 of the Ocean Drilling Program. By far the deepest penetration into oceanic crust, Hole 504B had been feared lost when a large diamond bit and assorted hardware (“junk”) broke off in the bottom of the hole at the end of ODP Leg 111 in 1986. Since then ODP's drill ship, JOIDES Resolution, has circumnavigated the globe, with no opportunity to redress this situation. But the objective of deep penetration into the oceanic crust and the hole itself are considered so important by marine Earth scientists that remedial measures in Hole 504B were undertaken as soon as the drill ship returned to the eastern Pacific. These measures succeeded better than had been hoped. Hole 504B was reopened after less than a week of cleaning operations, which included grappling for the lost junk with tools to pull it from the hole (called “fishing”) and grinding or milling the junk away.