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Accelerating Neoproterozoic Research through Scientific Drilling



NeoproterozoicA Workshop to discuss a multidisciplinary international research effort that will utilise drilling to accelerate research of the environmental and biological evolution and re-organisation of the Earth System during the Neoproterozoic Era. The Neoproterozoic Era experienced supercontinental tectonics, global-scale glaciations (i.e. Snowball Earth), a putative second global oxygenation event, and the diversification of eukaryotes followed by the rise of animals. Consequently, multi-disciplinary research of the Neoproterozoic is at the forefront of research between climatology, palaeobiology, geochemistry and geology. Although many first-order questions are being addressed and progress made, these advances are revealing a suite of specific follow on questions that remain to be answered. Many of these questions are sophisticated and present a challenge for current datasets, challenges that can be addressed through the acquisition of a set of new high-quality drill core archives. Such an effort will also serve as a focus for enhanced international and multi-disciplinary research.

We envisage a programme of scientific continental drilling that, for the Neoproterozoic, will match in spirit and scope that of the IODP for advancing understanding of Cenozoic climate and life co-evolution. What we are proposing is an initiative that will engage the Earth science community for a decade and likely longer, will involve multiple drilling projects funded by different sources (e.g. ICDP plus Industry, NASA, national research foundations). This workshop will bring together key researchers and interested partners to discuss and plan

  1. specific drilling projects for development in conjunction with ICDP, and
  2. development of longer-term infrastructure for collaboration (thematic and time-slice working groups, data-archiving).

Figure: Major biogeochemical trends over the past 2.5 billion years of Earth history (from many sources). Neoproterozoic Era is shaded. M-Marinoan, S-Sturtian glacials.






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Principal Investigators
  • Daniel J. Condon, British Geological Survey, NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory
  • Anthony R. Prave, University of St. Andrews, Department of Geography and Geosciences
  • Galen Pippa Halverson, McGill University, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • David A. Fike, Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Andrew Herbert Knoll, Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
  • Simone Antonia Kasemann, University of Bremen, Department 5 Geosciences, The Research Center Ocean Margins, General Geology - Isotope Geology
  • Paulo César Boggiani, Universidade de São Paulo, Instituto de Geociências, Departamento de Geologia Sedimentar e Ambiental
  • Maoyan Zhu, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, State Key Laboratory of Paleobiology and Stratigraphy



Evolution, Glaciation, Global, ICDP-2013/11, NEOPROTEROZOIC, Supercontinent


Current State



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