Hovan and Alumnus Renyck Attend Geoscience Workshop Aboard U.S. Drilling Ship in Curacao

Posted on 9/1/2011 8:12:22 AM
Steve Hovan and Heather Renyck

IUP Geoscience faculty member Dr. Steve Hovan and alumnus Ms. Heather Renyck (B.S., B.S.Ed.’99) met with a team of educators aboard the U.S. scientific drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution for a workshop to develop future education programs for the U.S. Ocean Drilling Program’s School of Rock.

The School of Rock is an intensive training program for formal and informal educators to learn about ocean sediments and how they are used to learn about the fundamental geological processes in Earth’s history. Each year since 2006, a School of Rock has been held at sea aboard the drilling ship or at the main U.S. repository for ocean sediment cores at Texas A&M University. Educators are able to examine cores (columns of rock and sediment collected by the drilling ship) to learn about important topics in marine geology such as global climate change, plate tectonics, and earthquake hazards. Educators then develop and share curricular materials about these processes to help others learn about them, too.

The drilling ship is currently located in Caracas Bay, Curacao, until it departs for its next research expedition in September, but it served as an ideal place to hold the workshop, sponsored by Ocean Leadership, Inc. Participants collected assessment data and ideas from each of their cohorts in order to plan for future educational initiatives using the drilling ship.

The JOIDES Resolution is the only American ship dedicated solely to scientific ocean drilling. The research conducted on this ship and its predecessor, the Glomar Challenger, have greatly increased our knowledge of plate tectonics, sea floor spreading, ocean groundwater, and ancient climate and ocean conditions, to name just a few topics.

The JOIDES Resolution is fitted with a drilling derrick that rises 205 feet above the water line, making it easy to find when it is in port. The derrick can suspend drill pipe down 27,000 feet (about six miles!) below the ocean surface and find a predetermined drill site with amazing precision even while being pulled by strong ocean currents and knocked around by waves.