The scientists weighed anchor on Japan’s deep-sea drilling vessel Chikyu, heading for a spot in the ocean off the Kii peninsula, southwestern Japan, and a fracture in the Earth’s crust known as the Nankai Trough.
Experts have warned the trough, which marks the place where the Philippine Sea plate slides under the Eurasian plate, is the likely source of a monster earthquake sometime in the near future.
Japan’s government last year unveiled a worst-case scenario, warning a big quake in the area could kill over 320,000 people, dwarfing the March 11, 2011, quake-tsunami disaster.
In its four-month mission, the latest stage of a multi-year project that began in 2007, the team plans to drill 3,600 metres (2.2 miles) down and take samples from the crust.
They will also be readying for another trip next year in which they hope to get 5,200 metres down, to the spot where the action actually happens.
Read more at: Phys.org