The first trials of a new wireline seafloor drill (Figure 1) have been a resounding success, and the new technology is expected to open up the ocean basins for in-depth studies in microtectonics and paleomagnetism. Structural and paleomagnetic work has been extremely important for tectonics on the continents, and extending such studies into the ocean basins, through development of wireline drilling, puts us on the brink of a new phase in research.
Funded through the British Mid-Ocean Ridge Initiative (BRIDGE), the drill is known as the BRIDGE drill. On its very first deployment from a ship, it recovered over half a meter of oriented gabbro core from the Atlantis Bank on the South West Indian Ridge (Figure 2). In the course of the research cruise, the drill took short oriented hardrock cores from 11 different seafloor sites [MacLeod et al., 1998].