IIT Gandhinagar professor selected for international expedition studying climate change

Institute of Technology Gandhinagar professor Khanna is among 31 scientists who will study the links between changes in the sea-level and climate change.

The IIT professor is only Indian scientist selected from the country. (Image: Official)The IIT professor is only Indian scientist selected from the country. (Image: Official)

Divyansh | August 30, 2023 | 05:22 PM IST

Gandhinagar: A professor of the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) has been selected as the only research scientist and sedimentologist from the country to participate in the offshore phase of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)’s Hawaiian Drowned Reefs Expedition (expedition 389). Pankaj Khanna, assistant professor of earth sciences at the IITGN will participate in the event being held from August 29 to November 1.

Khanna is among 31 scientists from across the globe who will explore the links between changes in the sea-level and climate by drilling and studying a series of fossil coral reefs around islands in Hawaii.

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The scientific team is led by Jody Webster from the University of Sydney, Australia, and Christina Ravelo from the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA. The team will be onboard MMA Valour, a vessel equipped with the state-of-the-art submersible drilling system - benthic portable remotely operated drill (PROD5).

They will dig up at 11 locations to a maximum thickness of 110 metres below the seafloor, in a series of fossil coral reefs surrounding the island of Hawaii. Covering important time periods in the Earth’s climate history, the information contained in these natural fossil reef archives will help scientists reconstruct sea-level change at a much higher resolution.

Khanna said, “The research cruise will provide critical datasets to dive deep into past sea levels and climate for the last five lakh years for which there are very limited records. The rocks collected through scientific drilling will give critical information on mechanisms that control abrupt climate change. I will be analysing the core samples that will be collected on the research expedition.”

The International Ocean Discovery Programme, an international marine research collaboration of 21 countries, was established to explore Earth’s history, structure, and dynamics by collecting and studying the seafloor sediments and rocks, and monitoring sub-seafloor environments. The European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD), a part of IODP, is conducting the current ‘Expedition 389’ for drilling drowned reefs offshore Hawaii.

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