The Trans-Amazon Drilling Project


The Amazon is a key region on Earth, and the forest and its biota have evolved together with the physical landscape, closely linking processes in Earth's interior with climate, surface landscapes, ecosystems, and biodiversity. The Trans-Amazon Drilling Project (TADP) will address fundamental questions about the geologic and biotic evolution of the Amazon: (1) how did Cenozoic geologic and climatic history, including uplift of the Andes, development of the Amazon fluvial system, and widening of the Atlantic Ocean, influence the origins of the Amazon rainforest and its incomparable biodiversity? (2) What was the origin of the Amazonian Pentecaua diabase sills, one of Earth’s largest intrusive complexes, and its impact on the atmospheric gas composition and mass extinction at the Triassic/Jurassic boundary?

The TADP has two components. Offshore, Cenozoic terrigenous sediments will be recovered from the upper continental slope of the Atlantic in an IODP-funded drilling leg. On land, an ICDP drilling project will sample the ancient sedimentary basins aligned along the modern Amazon River in Brazil, from the Andean foreland to the Atlantic Ocean. The ICDP/IODP transect will span 40°W to 73°W, nearly 10% of the Earth’s equatorial circumference. Drilling will likely start in early 2020 – stay tuned!

The Trans-Amazon Drilling Project builds upon the “Amazon-Andes Geogeonomics” project, funded by the US NSF Frontiers in Earth Systems Dynamics program. This project integrates geology and genetics to investigate the evolution of biodiversity in the Amazon and Andean Forests. See the group publications here

Map of drilling locations

Map of drilling locations

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