Joides Resolution

We still know more about the surface of Mars than what’s under our own seabed.

Here we profile a scientific research vessel that has drilled more holes in the ocean floor than any other and whose expeditions continue to make some of the greatest scientific discoveries of our time.

Name: JOIDES Resolution

Nickname: JR


Operator: International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)

Launched: 1978 (with IODP since 1985)

Type: Ocean-going research drilling vessel

Height: 62m (similar to the leaning tower of Pisa)

Crew: 70 + 60 scientists and technicians

The JOIDES Resolution (JR for short) circumnavigates the globe drilling holes and pulling up rock cores from under the seabed all in the name of scientific research. Rock cores hold important clues to our planet’s past and future and the JR provides the perfect place to investigate some of the biggest questions about Earth.

Scientists discuss different climatic events that can be ‘read’ in the core samples. Through time sediments are deposited on the sea floor building up layers that trained scientists can read like a book.


Not only is the JR an impressive ship, it’s also a floating laboratory that scientists use to analyse each core and tell us about the climate and life that existed when the sediments where deposited back through Earth’s history.

The boat only goes into port every 2 months to re-supply and start a new expedition Each expedition lasts two months and has a specific scientific aim.

JR scientific expedition stats:

Number of expeditions: 165

Total distance travelled: 538,752 nautical miles

Core holes drilled: 2500

Length of core recovered: 322,616m

Deepest hole drilled: 2111m

Deepest water depth drilled in: 5980m


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