Articles | Volume 21
Sci. Dril., 21, 29–40, 2016
Sci. Dril., 21, 29–40, 2016

Science report 27 Jul 2016

Science report | 27 Jul 2016

The Towuti Drilling Project: paleoenvironments, biological evolution, and geomicrobiology of a tropical Pacific lake

James M. Russell1, Satria Bijaksana2, Hendrik Vogel3, Martin Melles4, Jens Kallmeyer5, Daniel Ariztegui6, Sean Crowe7, Silvia Fajar2, Abdul Hafidz2, Doug Haffner8, Ascelina Hasberg4, Sarah Ivory1, Christopher Kelly1, John King9, Kartika Kirana2, Marina Morlock3, Anders Noren10, Ryan O'Grady10, Luis Ordonez6, Janelle Stevenson11, Thomas von Rintelen12, Aurele Vuillemin5, Ian Watkinson13, Nigel Wattrus14, Satrio Wicaksono1, Thomas Wonik15, Kohen Bauer7, Alan Deino16, André Friese5, Cynthia Henny17, Imran18, Ristiyanti Marwoto17, La Ode Ngkoimani19, Sulung Nomosatryo5, La Ode Safiuddin19, Rachel Simister7, and Gerald Tamuntuan20 James M. Russell et al.
  • 1Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Brown University, 324 Brook St., Providence, RI, 02912, USA
  • 2Faculty of Mining and Petroleum Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Jalan Ganesa 10, Bandung, 50132, Indonesia
  • 3Institute of Geological Science & Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1+3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 4Institute for Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Zülpicher Str. 49a/b, 50674 Cologne, Germany
  • 5Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, Building C, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 6Department of Earth Sciences, University of Geneva, rue des Maraichers 13, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
  • 7Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 8Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4, Canada
  • 9Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI, 02882, USA
  • 10LacCore, Dept. of Earth Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA
  • 11School of Culture, History and Language, Australia National University, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia
  • 12Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Invalidenstr. 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany
  • 13Dept. of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK
  • 14Large Lakes Observatory, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN, 55812, USA
  • 15Liebniz Institute for Applied Geophysics, Stilleweg 2, 30655 Hanover, Germany
  • 16Berkeley Geochronology Center, Berkeley, CA, 94709, USA
  • 17Research Center for Limnology, Indonesian Insitute of Sciences (LIPI), Jl. Raya Bogor m 46, Cibinong, West Java, Indonesia
  • 18Geological Department, Universitas Hasanuddin, Kampus UNHAS Tamalanrea, Makassar, 90245, Indonesia
  • 19Faculty of Earth Sciences and Technology, Haluoleo University, Kampus Baru Unhalu Anduoonoho, Kendari, 93232, Indonesia
  • 20Department of Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Sam Ratulangi University, Jl. Kampus Unsrat, Manado, 95114, Indonesia

Abstract. The Towuti Drilling Project (TDP) is an international research program, whose goal is to understand long-term environmental and climatic change in the tropical western Pacific, the impacts of geological and environmental changes on the biological evolution of aquatic taxa, and the geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry of metal-rich, ultramafic-hosted lake sediments through the scientific drilling of Lake Towuti, southern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Lake Towuti is a large tectonic lake at the downstream end of the Malili lake system, a chain of five highly biodiverse lakes that are among the oldest lakes in Southeast Asia. In 2015 we carried out a scientific drilling program on Lake Towuti using the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) Deep Lakes Drilling System (DLDS). We recovered a total of  ∼ 1018 m of core from 11 drilling sites with water depths ranging from 156 to 200 m. Recovery averaged 91.7 %, and the maximum drilling depth was 175 m below the lake floor, penetrating the entire sedimentary infill of the basin. Initial data from core and borehole logging indicate that these cores record the evolution of a highly dynamic tectonic and limnological system, with clear indications of orbital-scale climate variability during the mid- to late Pleistocene.

Short summary
The Towuti Drilling Project seeks to understand the long-term environmental and climatic history of the tropical western Pacific and to discover the unique microbes that live in metal-rich sediments. To accomplish these goals, in 2015 we carried out a scientific drilling project on Lake Towuti, located in central Indonesia. We recovered over 1000 m of core, and our deepest core extended 175 m below the lake floor and gives us a complete record of the lake.