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Arctic Coring Expedition 2004


Lomonosov RidgeThe Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX) was the first IODP mission-specific platform operation managed by ESO (in cooperation with the Swedish Polar research Secretariat - SPRS) from August 7 to September 15, 2004. The drillsites were located on a submarine high, the Lomonosov Ridge, at a point only 250 km from the North Pole. ACEX was a huge logistical challenge because the drillship had to hold its position while surrounded by the moving ice sheets of the Arctic Ocean. This required two icebreakers, the Oden and Sovetskiy Soyuz to clear a channel through the ice to allow a third icebreaker, Vidar Viking, specially converted for the task, to undertake the drilling.

Why Drill Arctic Sediments ?

The sediments from the top of the Lomonosov Ridge should contain a continuous climate record, in pristine condition, dating back around 50 million years. This sequence starts around the time of the "Eocene Greenhouse climate" when the Earth was at its warmest, before a long interval of gradually cooling, which led to the Pleistocene Ice Ages and then to today's climate. Coring these sediments from beneath the Arctic Ocean will help us solve the mystery of why these climate changes occured and might possibly help us predict how Earth's climate may change in future.

More at ECORD

(Photo: ©ECORD)


  • Arctic Ocean, Lomonosov Ridge, 250 km from north pole, 87° 34' N, 137° 07' E

Project Start and End

  • Begin August 7, 2005
  • End September 15, 2005

Programs and Funding

  • European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling
  • Integrated Ocean Drilling Program

Principal Investigators

  • Jan Backman, University of Stockholm
  • Kate Moran, University of Rhode Island


  • University of Stockholm
  • University of Rhode Island
  • British Geological Survey
  • University of Aberdeen
  • Seacore Ltd.


  • acex, ocean drilling, arctic ocean, paleoclimatology, climate change, global environment, lomonosov ridge, ecord, iodp, msp, mission specific platform

Current State

  • drilling operations finalized, scientific evaluation is ongoing