Articles | Volume 20
Sci. Dril., 20, 41–49, 2015
Sci. Dril., 20, 41–49, 2015

Workshop report 17 Dec 2015

Workshop report | 17 Dec 2015

Trans-Amazon Drilling Project (TADP): origins and evolution of the forests, climate, and hydrology of the South American tropics

P. A. Baker1,2, S. C. Fritz3, C. G. Silva4, C. A. Rigsby2,5, M. L. Absy6, R. P. Almeida7, M. Caputo8, C. M. Chiessi7, F. W. Cruz7, C. W. Dick9, S. J. Feakins10, J. Figueiredo11, K. H. Freeman12, C. Hoorn13, C. Jaramillo14, A. K. Kern7, E. M. Latrubesse15, M. P. Ledru16, A. Marzoli17, A. Myrbo18, A. Noren18, W. E. Piller19, M. I. F. Ramos20, C. C. Ribas6, R. Trnadade21, A. J. West10, I. Wahnfried22, and D. A. Willard23 P. A. Baker et al.
  • 1Earth and Ocean Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
  • 2Yachay Tech University, San Miguel de Urcuquí, Imbabura, Ecuador
  • 3Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0340, USA
  • 4Departamento de Geologia, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil
  • 5Department of Geological Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA
  • 6Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil
  • 7School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 8Geoarte Consultoria Geológica e Artística Ltda, Belém, Brazil
  • 9Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • 10Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 11OGX Oil and Gas, Brazil
  • 12Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, USA
  • 13Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosytem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 14Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City, Panama
  • 15Department of Geography, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA
  • 16Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France
  • 17Dipartimento di Geoscienze, Universitá Degli Studi di Padova, Padua, Italy
  • 18Limnological Research Center, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, USA
  • 19Institute of Earth Sciences, Universität Graz, Graz, Austria
  • 20Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Pára, Brazil
  • 21Faculdade de Oceanografia, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 22Departamento de Geociências, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil
  • 23US Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA

Abstract. This article presents the scientific rationale for an ambitious ICDP drilling project to continuously sample Late Cretaceous to modern sediment in four different sedimentary basins that transect the equatorial Amazon of Brazil, from the Andean foreland to the Atlantic Ocean. The goals of this project are to document the evolution of plant biodiversity in the Amazon forests and to relate biotic diversification to changes in the physical environment, including climate, tectonism, and the surface landscape. These goals require long sedimentary records from each of the major sedimentary basins across the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, which can only be obtained by drilling because of the scarcity of Cenozoic outcrops. The proposed drilling will provide the first long, nearly continuous regional records of the Cenozoic history of the forests, their plant diversity, and the associated changes in climate and environment. It also will address fundamental questions about landscape evolution, including the history of Andean uplift and erosion as recorded in Andean foreland basins and the development of west-to-east hydrologic continuity between the Andes, the Amazon lowlands, and the equatorial Atlantic. Because many modern rivers of the Amazon basin flow along the major axes of the old sedimentary basins, we plan to locate drill sites on the margin of large rivers and to access the targeted drill sites by navigation along these rivers.

Short summary
We report on a planned Trans-Amazon Drilling Project (TADP) that will continuously sample Late Cretaceous to modern sediment in a transect along the equatorial Amazon of Brazil, from the Andean foreland to the Atlantic Ocean. The TADP will document the evolution of the Neotropical forest and will link biotic diversification to changes in the physical environment, including climate, tectonism, and landscape. We will also sample the ca. 200Ma basaltic sills that underlie much of the Amazon.