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January 31, 2022 - Ocean floor: OGS coordinates ESSAC

The European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling - ECORD has chosen the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics - OGS to coordinate the activities of its Scientific Committee - ESSAC for the next three years. ESSAC has recently moved to the OGS headquarters in Trieste to ensure the planning, coordination of the scientific and technological contribution and participation of ECORD to the activities of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).
The seabed of the seas and oceans occupies three quarters of the Earth's total surface and is the great frontier of knowledge of our planet. Since the 1960s, in parallel with the development of space research, many countries have launched programs of scientific exploration of the ocean floor which, under various names (Deep Sea Drilling Project, Ocean Drilling Program, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program), have given rise to the largest and longest-running international scientific cooperation programme in the field of Earth sciences.  
Studying the ocean floor is fundamental for several reasons. Sediments preserve the archive of climate history, while volcanic rocks contain the history of the Earth's evolution. The seabed is also the source of the greatest geological hazards (explosions of submerged volcanoes, major earthquakes, underwater landslides), which can cause tsunamis to hit the coast. But it is not just about geology, because sediments and rocks of the ocean floor contain evidence of marine biodiversity and its evolution in relation to global changes, as well as a largely unknown deep biosphere and represent extreme living environments of which we know very little today. 
Currently, various scientific drilling infrastructures are in operation around the world, hosting technicians, researchers and students to study the secrets of the ocean floor. Since 2013, fifteen European countries and Canada have joined forces to participate in the programme through the ECORD consortium, which has, among other things, the task of implementing drilling in sensitive environments not easily reached by the platforms provided by the United States of America and Japan, such as polar waters and shallow waters at the edge of the oceans.
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