Deep Observation and Sampling o f the Earth's Continental Crust (DOSECC, for short) is a nonprofit corporation, currently composed of 39 member universities, that was founded to manage Continental Scientific Drilling Programs somewhat as Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI), Inc., manages the Ocean Drilling Program. Funding is provided by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Department of Energy (DOE). DOSECC currently has two projects in operation and several under development.
The long-term DOSECC program may be separated into categories based either on drilling depth or on objectives. The first category consists of shallow to intermediate depth drilling (up to about 5 km) designed to attain targets related to a better understanding of active processes in the continental crust. The second category of targets push the limit of drilling technology in terms of depth and sometimes with respect to temperature, pressure, and/or corrosive fluid environments. Ultimately, DOSECC drilling projects are expected to achieve depths exceeding 15 km. Such ultradeep holes will not only examine dynamic processes in the crust but will also explore crustal history, structures, and conditions at depth. Current budget constraints allow drilling of projects in the first category, and planning for eventual deeper drilling at a number of locations is in progress.