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Outlining important U.S. scientific problems that, to be properly addressed, must be investigated with a drilling ship was the objective of the U.S. COMmittee on POST-1998 Ocean Drilling (COMPOST), which met in Seattle October 14–15. Members of COMPOST were chosen specifically by the Joint Oceanographic Institutions-U.S. Science Advisory (JOI-USSAC) as representatives of major ongoing ocean sciences initiatives in the United States.

The scientific rationale for drilling was examined and COMPOST summarized what the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) has done and can do for the following initiatives: Marine Aspects of Earth System History (MESH)