Dick Kroon

7th ECORD Award

12 October 2021

Dick Kroon was awarded with the 7th ECORD Award on the occasion of the IODP Forum meeting.

Scientific Ocean Drilling is fun – each borehole is unique, and scientific results are often surprising and novel! My involvement with SOD stretches over > 30 years including six JOIDES Resolution expeditions, two as Co-Chief Scientist, recovering paleoceanographic-climate records from the Pleistocene to the Cretaceous. I will never forget when the stunning cores containing the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary intervals were recovered during the Legs 208 and 171B, respectively. The dramatic improvement in recovery of such sediments over the years is testament to the skills of the IODP engineers and operators. Completion of stable isotope climate records with astronomical timescales from the Pleistocene to the Cretaceous has required careful planning by many scientists, drilling sequences containing fresh carbonate shells and with high temporal resolution, plus onshore research in numerous stable isotope labs. Hence it took several decades for these comprehensive stable isotope curves to be completed, and it is such a highlight for me to see these now being used in future climate debates.

I got involved with shallow water drilling even before ECORD developed the Mission Specific Platform concept! Using a simple jack-up rig, an international group drilled several sites in the Great Barrier Reef and discovered that the reef stack was late Pleistocene in age, astonishingly young. This drilling opened my eyes to the importance of shallow water drilling. ECORD took the plunge and developed the mission specific concept shortly after. The idea to drill in environments where other platforms cannot operate, such as in the Arctic and the Chicxulub crater, was a milestone in SOD and has led to important scientific discoveries reported in highly cited papers in top journals.

The five years I spent co-leading the Science Evaluation Panel was one of my greatest pleasures. Of course, SEP could not function without the Support Office and I would like to give them the greatest compliments for handling the proposal submission system so well. For the last three years I served as Chair of the IODP Forum, another extraordinary experience! It was amazing to see the new Science Framework being developed in such a short time… the involvement of early career researchers from diverse backgrounds in producing the Framework shows that the SOD community is alive and kicking. The Forum has now initiated discussions on post-2024 SOD and it warms my heart that all current platform providers and funding agencies are working intensely on planning the future of ocean drilling within an international context, hopefully in a more sustainable manner aided by improved budgets. ECORD will play a key role in this, building on a solid foundation for sustainable MSP drilling presented at the last Forum. This includes broadening the MSP concept, further collaboration between platform providers, in-kind contributions, new funding routes, and improved collaboration with ICDP. The future looks bright therefore, and I conclude by saying ‘may many exciting MSP expeditions be drilled in the future under the flag of the Science Framework’!

Thank you for nominating me for the ECORD Award.