J-DESC Core School


The core school consisting of several technical courses aims to upskill early carrier scientists and technicians, especially graduates and undergraduates, and provide opportunities for J-DESC members to interact.

Information for each course will be provided to IODP/ICDP mailing lists and posted on the J-DESC website.
Anyone can attend all courses. J-DESC supports a part of the travel cost for student participants from J-DESC member institutions.

Now call for application
  1. Basic Core Analysis Course  (Application Deadline: 17 Feb 2022)
  2. Core Isotope Analysis Course (Application Deadlene: 17 Feb 2022)
Course list
  1. Basic Core Analysis
  2. Expert Core Analysis
  3. Core  Isotope Analysis
  4. Micropaleontology
  5. Paleomagnetism
  6. TATSCAN nondestructive analysis
  7. Basic Logging
  8. Mud Logging
  9. Petrologic Description

Basic Core Analysis

The basic core analysis course, the cornerstone of the Core Analysis School started in 2006, provides an introduction to core analysis techniques. Its objectives are to offer students an opportunity to learn, through lectures and practical training, in a systematic manner as is rarely offered by a university curriculum, how to macroscopically classify the lithofacies of core samples, prepare and view smear slides, and perform non-destructive measurements using a multi-sensor core logger and spectrophotometer. Practical training is designed to let students observe the variations of sediment in core real samples collected in the Sea of Japan, as well as different types of sediment core from the seafloor of other parts of the world, both with the unaided eye and under the microscope, Since the Kochi Core Center, the school venue, serves both as IODP repository and as analysis base mainly for core samples, young researchers and students can also get a virtual experience of the core flow onboard the Chikyu or the JOIDES Resolution and the flow of analyzing continental drilling core. Up to now, more than 100 young researchers and students have participated in the courses and are now practically applying their newly gained knowledge and techniques to their respective research tasks.

Expert Core Analysis

This advanced course is designed to provide pre-cruise training to prospective onboard scientists who plan to sign up for IODP expeditions. The first course, targeting mainly sedimentologists whose participation in an IODP expedition had been approved, whose applications to participate as onboard scientists were being processed, and who wished to join as onboard scientists in the near future, was a special 3-day training course dealing with onboard description of core samples (Visual Core Description: VCD) and was held from March 19 to 21, 2008 at the Kochi Core Center. There were a total of 15 participants. As part of the assistance rendered to onboard scientists, J-DESC provided approved participants in an IODP expedition with full participation and travel expenses.

The course consisted of a combination of lectures and practical training and closed with a presentation meeting in English. The following lectures were offered: “To be a sedimentologist onboard”, “Using smear slides to observe sediment and classify lithofacies”, “An introduction to Corelyzer”, “IODP core curation and handling of legathy cores”, “Preparation of core summary and identification of lithofacies units”, “The work of an onboard sedimentologist – by example of Exp. 303”, “Core strata and correction of structural orientation”, “Core description onboard the Chikyu and use of J-CORES”, “Role of research section onboard the Deep Sea Drilling Vessel Chikyu”, “Improve your English skills”, “Methods of stratigraphic correlation”, and “Integrated logging of core samples and boreholes”. As part of practical training, participants formed groups of 2 to 3 by expedition and practiced on real core specimens how to examine lithofacies and smear slides. To prepare them for onboard VCD, they received practical training in preparing VCD schemes, VCD procedure, terminology, viewing of smear slides, assigning lithological names, preparation of core and site summaries, etc. Practical training further included training in the basics of core description using IODP legathy cores, sampling of legathy cores under guidance of the IODP curator to collect specimens for smear slides, learning how to assign lithological names based on representative smear slides, time trial training in core description within a fixed period of time, and preparation of lithological summaries (core summaries). Practical training concluded with data analysis, report preparation, etc. within the framework of an onboard site summary meeting. At the meeting, each group summarized its practical training and measurement results and announced these in English at a presentation meeting and subsequent Q&A session.

Core  Isotope Analysis

The core isotope analysis course aims to provide small groups of post-graduate students (including those slated to enter graduate school in April) with applicable technical skills in isotope analysis of geochemical samples and in core analysis. The various isotopic compositions of geochemical samples are put to wide use in dating based on variations in the origin of their constituent materials, and in the environment and processes leading to the formation of sediment. To be able to apply this method, however, it is necessary to acquire analytical techniques and know-how, in addition to textbook knowledge. This course is designed to teach the skills necessary to analyze actual samples using the Kochi Core Center’s high-precision isotope analysis equipment, including preprocessing of samples using specialized equipment, operation of various equipment systems, and evaluation and analysis of data. We are waiting for enthusiastic graduate students and researchers to participate in this course.


The objective of the microfossil course was to train students and novices interested in microfossils, as well as researchers in micropaleontology to carry out research work onboard IODP vessels. The microfossil course had its beginnings in the J-DESC sponsored Microfossil Summer School held in 2004, and since the J-DESC Core School was set up, the Microfossil Course and the Microfossil Summer School have been held in parallel, with Tohoku and Akita universities as venue. Special about this course was that students were exposed to team teaching by experts called in for the purpose, and were given an opportunity to practice on real specimens according to the motto “Seeing is believing”.  This was a rare chance to attend content-based lectures given by leading researchers in the field. It was moreover an opportunity to take a look at top grade specimens from Tohoku University’s microfossil collection. The course covered three days of lectures and practical training in the lab. The number of participants was limited to around 12 to 15 persons per taxon to ensure that each researcher has full use of the facilities. On the morning of the first day, participants were given a basic lecture on taxonomic groups and on how research in micropaleontology ties in with the work of the IODP. Starting in the afternoon and continuing on the second day, students were given a chance to observe real specimens to enrich their understanding of taxonomic groups. During the morning of the third day, there was special lab training and a Q&A session. We hope that when students and researchers are back in their respective organizations, they will be able to explain to others what they have learned, for example, what an XX microfossil actually is. In cooperation with about a dozen micropaleontolgists from all over Japan, the school offered the opportunity to study foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils, radiolaria, diatoms and ostracoda. Discussions are currently in progress as to the possibility of letting different universities take turns in hosting the school.


As IODP considers paleomagnetic measurements an important part of the non-destructive measurement routine, any expedition will definitely have researchers in this field onboard. The first thing expected of an onboard paleomagnetics researcher is to determine the magnetostratigraphy of core. The next steps are to develop a research strategy based on the measurement results obtained onboard, take samples using U-channels or the like, and follow this up by more detailed research on land. On an expedition where sediment is cored, core sections are measured while being moved through the pass-through superconducting magnetometer (SQUID) installed onboard. Different from measuring individual samples (cube samples), performing pass-through measurements on core sections and U-channels and interpreting the results poses certain challenges, which require a fair amount of knowledge. For this reason, the foremost objective of the paleomagnetics course was to impart the knowledge required for onboard research by training students in paleomagnetic measurement at the Kochi Core Center using the same pass-through SQUID system as is installed on the Chikyu and JOIDES Resolution drilling vessels. At the same time, the Kochi Core Center boasts state-of-the-art equipment for measuring rock magnetism, including a low temperature magnetic property measurement system (MPMS) and a vibrating sample magnetometer (VMS), which it is hoped will be used after expeditions for joint research and achieving results. Course participants were also trained in the basic use of this equipment and what it can be used for.<0}

The course, a three-day school for novice students and other young talent interested in paleomagnetics, comprised lectures delivered by a number of experts and training in measuring actual samples, and is planned to be held every other year (next in the summer of 2010). It is hoped that the course will motivate students and young researchers to take up onboard and marine core research within the IODP framework.

TATSCAN nondestructive analysis

This course was co-sponsored with JAMSTEC’s Institute for Research on Earth Evolution, Past Global Changes Research Program, and held at the latter venue from June 20 to 22, 2007. Its main objective was to familiarize small groups of participants with the principles and methods of, and impart basic know-how in non-destructive analysis of seabed sediment core, core samples, etc. using state-of-the-art analyzing equipment. The course, targeted at Chikyu onboard researchers and engineers as well as other researchers, engineers, graduate students and students engaged in or interested in non-destructive analysis, had six participants. The lecturers were Tatsuhiko Sakamoto, Koichi Iijima, and Yuko Sugano (JAMSTEC). The course consisted of lectures and practical training. The lectures covered subjects from basic to advanced non-destructive core analysis and equipment development, operation of an X-ray fluorescence core logger and sample preparation, etc. Practical training included various quantitative experiments using the prepared specimens, and evaluation experiments to show the influence of water content on quantitative X-ray fluorescence analysis. In addition, specimens brought in by the participants were subjected to various analyses such as non-destructive analysis of alterations in granite core, analysis of element distribution on the surface of stalactite, and analysis of elemental distribution, color distribution and structural distribution in freshwater lake core. Practical training concluded with everyone announcing the results of their measurements followed by a Q&A session, and the writing of reports was given as homework.

Basic Logging

This course deals with geophysical logging, a method used to obtain rock property values, for example, when the core recovery rate is low. Its objective is to introduce students to the basics of logging by providing them with basic knowledge of the tools and measuring methods used in standard logging, and letting them practice data analysis using real data and software. The first school session held for two days in July 2008 had 12 participants, the majority of them post-graduate students. It is planned to continue this program on a once-a-year basis.

Mud Logging

To be prepared

Petrologic Description

To be prepared


J-DESC Support office
info [at] j-desc.org