CORSAIRES is a proposal for a MAST 3 Concerted Action, aiming to provide to a selected number of MAST projects, other Framework projects (e.g. ENVIRONMENT) and associated national projects access to an industrial drilling vessel for a Grand Tour along the European margins, to drill a selected number of holes -200 to 300 m deep along a few transects from shelf to slope and deep-sea, and offering the possibility of deploying large equipment to the seabed. The present Concerted Action scheme will :
(1) provide the "tissu", which will link in a flexible but efficient way existing or planned relevant scientific programmes both in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean,
(2) provide through a support contract access to a vessel for a first (North-Atlantic) leg,
(3) be the platform for preparing future project proposals in support of this objective (networks, technological developments).
Objectives of the CORSAIRES initiative are :
- to directly serve the European marine scientific community, involved in high-resolution coring and seabed surface or sub-surface experimentation, - to develop a European pool of advanced tools and instrument packages for borehole intervention and a network of European core analysis laboratories and core curation facilities,
- to contribute to the cohesion and visibility of the relevant scientific community,
- to demonstrate by a pilot action the feasibility of a sustainable multi-platform working scheme in ocean drilling and experimentation, which would respond in a flexible way to both scientific objectives and resources, and which would test the possible synergy between specific scientific drilling and seabed experimentation actions and the developing offshore deep-water drilling and intervention market.
The CORSAIRES Initiative is endorsed by a fast but highly succesful open call for interest, resulting in the identification of a prime core of 47 European Institutes and Laboratories, already proposing 98 well documented coring sites along the margins of Europe, which argues for the maturity of the scientific context in Europe. Though CORSAIRES focusses primarily on the sub-seabed objectives, through coring and eventually borehole instrumentation, it also aims to fully use the potential of the concerted action to contribute if desired to the development of a seabed "sister project", in full cohesion between the geoscience, life science and environmental science communities involved. The ultimate goal being to contribute to a comprehensive implementation scheme, fully responding to the long-range objectives defined by the ECOPS Grand Challenge "The Deep-Sea Floor as a Changing Environment".