The Ocean Drilling Vessel Chikyu

JAMSTEC & The Smithsonian Institution

The Chikyu allows scientists to gather and study data about seafloor sediments as soon as they are collected. After a powerful 9.0 earthquake triggered a devestating tsunami in Japan in March 2011, Japanese officials decided to use the Chikyu to explore the underwater fault zone. They are calling it the "Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project" and hope it will yield new information about siesmology and the friction involved in earthquakes.