UCSC scientist reports stormy start to JFAST expedition

satellite image of storm

This satellite image shows the extent of the storm encountered by the JFAST expedition. (Tuesday, April 3, 2012, Japan Meteorological Agency)

Typhoon-strength winds and 30-foot waves greeted researchers aboard the Chikyu scientific drilling vessel as they arrived at their drilling site off the coast of Japan on April 4. James Kirkpatrick, a postdoctoral researcher from UC Santa Cruz, is among the scientists on board and posted a report on the web site of the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project (JFAST), Expedition 343 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.

"Even the old hands are impressed at the longevity of this storm," Kirkpatrick said in his online report.

The JFAST expedition aims to drill into the fault that caused the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 (see earlier story). Casey Moore, research professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UCSC, is also on board the Chikyu. Emily Brodsky, professor of Earth and planetary sciences, helped organize the expedition.

Kirkpatrick and other members of the expedition are posting regular updates on the JFAST web site.