Geosystems researchers have proposed a project that could shed light on how the ocean looked 100 million years ago.

Lead proponent Tom Dunkley Jones, along with co-proponents Steve Jones and James Bendle, submitted a pre-proposal for Integrated Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) called "The Origin, Evolution and Palaeoenvironment of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway" on Tuesday 1 April. 

The proposal builds on 18 months of collaborative work between Geosystems staff and academics at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil. It covers 45 days of IODP scientific ocean drilling on the Pernambuco Plateau, off Brazil’s north-eastern coast. 

Sediments would be used to test hypotheses about the final opening of the South Atlantic and obtain records of tropical biotas and environments that occurred over the past 30 to 100 million years. 

The pre-proposal is the first stage of working towards an IODP expedition. Twenty-six international researchers were involved in the proposal, including eight from Brazilian institutions.