Story provided by Stillwater Public Library
The International Ocean Discovery Program has chosen Stillwater as one of a handful of communities to host a national science exhibit about the secrets being uncovered beneath the ocean floor. “In Search of Earth’s Secrets,” a pop-up science encounter, features interactive science stations and a 40-foot long inflatable replica of the ocean floor drilling research vessel, the JOIDES Resolution. A grand opening event for the exhibit will take place at OSU’s Nobel Research Atrium on Friday, April 1, from 5-7 p.m.
The Oklahoma State University School of Geology applied to host the exhibit from April-June in partnership with the Stillwater Public Library and OSU Extension’s 4H Youth Development.
According to Natascha Riedinger, associate professor in OSU’s Boone Pickens School of Geology, the partners applied for the opportunity to bring the excitement of marine science to the land-locked community.
“Some of the most common fossils that can be found in Oklahoma are of marine origin,” Riedinger said. “And yet, many of us will not have the chance to visit the ocean and make a personal connection to the importance of ocean research and discovery. High-quality, interactive exhibits such as ‘In Search of Earth’s Secrets’ will help do that.”
Elizabeth Murray, children’s services supervisor at the Stillwater Public Library, jumped at the chance to join the project.
“Families visiting the library are always enthusiastic anytime we can provide science-related programming,” Murray said. “The summer reading program theme this year is ‘Oceans of Possibilities,’ so this exhibit fits right in with our goal of illustrating the wonders and possibilities provided by both reading and scientific exploration.”
The JOIDES (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling) Resolution and the Chikyu from Japan are the only two research vessels in the world conducting ocean core drilling. The ship has drilled 1.2 miles under the ocean’s floor to collect cores, which are long tubes of sedimentary material that give scientists information about the earth’s history.
“Cores provide a fascinating look at the gradual changes that took place on earth over millions of years,” Riedinger said. “They also tell us about sudden events that had huge impacts on the planet. Basically, they are a diary of earth’s history.”
The JOIDES Resolution and “In Search of Earth’s Secrets” will sail into Oklahoma at the end of March. Both the OSU School of Geology and the Stillwater Public Library are planning events and programs that exhibit visitors can attend to learn even more about the ocean floor, core drilling and the secrets of science that have been unlocked through the JOIDES Resolution expeditions. Young adults from 4-H will act as docents for the exhibit.
To learn more about the exhibit in Stillwater or to RSVP for the grand opening event, visit library.stillwater.org/EarthsSecrets.php. Event dates and locations will be posted on the website as the exhibit and programming schedule is developed.
“In Search of Earth’s Secrets” has been made possible by the International Ocean Discovery Program with funding from the National Science Foundation.