Glomar Challenger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Glomar Challenger
United States
Name: Glomar Challenger
Owner: Global Marine Inc.
Builder: Levingston Shipbuilding Company, Orange, Texas
Laid down: October 18, 1967
Launched: March 23, 1968
Acquired: August 11, 1968
In service: 1968
Out of service: 1983
Identification:IMO number6904636
Fate: Scrapped, c. 1983
General characteristics [1]
Type: Deep sea drilling platform
Length: 400 ft (120 m)
Beam: 65 ft (20 m)
Draft: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Endurance: 90 days
Sensors and
processing systems:
ITT Model 4007AB Satellite Navigation System
Notes: Can drill to a depth of 22,500 ft (6,900 m), in a water depth of up to 20,000 ft (6,100 m).

Glomar Challenger was a deep sea research and scientific drilling vessel for oceanography and marine geology studies. The drillship was designed by Global Marine Inc. (now Transocean Inc.) specifically for a long term contract with the American National Science Foundation and University of California Scripps Institution of Oceanography and built by Levingston Shipbuilding Company in Orange, Texas.[2] Launched on March 23, 1968,[2] the vessel was owned and operated by the Global Marine Inc. corporation. Glomar Challenger was given its name as a tribute to the accomplishments of the oceanographic survey vessel HMS Challenger. Glomar is a truncation of Global Marine.


Starting from August 1968, the ship was embarked on a 15-year-long scientific expedition, the Deep Sea Drilling Program, criss-crossing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between South America and Africa and drilling core samples at specific locations. When the age of the samples was determined by paleontologic and isotopic dating studies, this provided conclusive evidence for the seafloor spreading hypothesis, and, consequently, for plate tectonics.

During 1970, when doing research in the Mediterranean Sea while supervised by Kenneth Hsu, geologists aboard the vessel brought up drill cores containing gypsum, anhydrite, rock salt, and various other evaporite minerals that often form from drying of brine or seawater. These were the first solid evidence for the ancient desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea, the Messinian salinity crisis.


After being operated for fifteen years, Glomar Challenger's active duty was ended during November 1983 and she was later scrapped. Her successor, JOIDES Resolution, was launched during 1985. The ship was a success in collecting rock samples and helped to confirm the Messinian Salinity Crisis theory.


Glomar Challenger was made to help Harry Hess with the theory of Seafloor Spreading by taking rock samples confirming that the farther from the Mid-ocean ridge, the older the rock was.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Glomar Challenger and Her Capabilities" (PDF). Deep Sea Drilling Project Reports and Publications. pp. 452–453. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ocean Drilling Program: Glomar Challenger drillship
  • Hsu, Kenneth (1987). The Mediterranean Was a Desert: A Voyage of the Glomar Challenger. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02406-5. (About the campaign that discovered the salt residues under the Mediterranean.)

External links[edit]