The Launch of the MIRAGE Expedition

Earth Observatory Blog

The Launch of the MIRAGE Expedition


Greetings from Colombo, Sri Lanka! My name is Ben Marks. I am the Communications Officer from the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS), and I will be your resident blogger for the next four weeks.

Throughout the month of July, I will be introducing you to the scientists and students from around the world who are participating in the MIRAGE expedition. I will also be delving into the scientific work being done on board the research vessel Marion Dufresne, and going behind-the-scenes to take a closer look at what it takes to make a research cruise happen.

At 120 metres in length, the Marion Dufresne is the largest research vessel in the French fleet.

The MIRAGE (Marine Investigation of the Rupture Anatomy of the 2012 Great Earthquake) is an ambitious mission to map the seafloor and sub-surface of a seismically active section of the Wharton Basin, which lies approximately 5km below the surface of the Indian Ocean, as well as some 500km southwest of the northwest coast of Sumatra.

The main focus is the site where the magnitude-8.6 earthquake had occurred on 11 April 2012. It remains the largest earthquake ever recorded within a plate. 

The international group of scientists and students conducting this survey are from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), and Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS).

Right now, the first leg of the journey is underway as we sail for three days to Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra, where we will drop anchor to bring aboard 10 students from Indonesia. From there, we will head southwest towards the Wharton Basin, where the expedition will properly begin.


To continue to follow the progress of MIRAGE, please check the EOS blog throughout the month of July, and spread the word using #MIRAGEcruise.

All photographs are taken by Ben Marks, unless otherwise stated.


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