470 Foot Scientific Research Vessel JOIDES Resolution in Costa Rican Waters

April 17th, 2011

JOIDES Resolution

JOIDES Resolution docked in Puntarenas, Costa Rica over the weekend

By Bill Miller  / SICR Staff / Sunday, 17 April 2011

PUNTARENAS, COSTA RICA – If you were wondering what was that steaming north on the horizon last week, you weren’t  alone – it looked like a moving oil rig of some kind and it definitely got your attention. Well don’t worry yet that Costa Rica will be constructing oil & gas offshore rigs anytime soon – it was just a drilling exploratory ship just finishing a 4 week Costa Rican Seismogenesis Project (abbreviated “CRISP”) and is about to start another 6 week expedition dedicated to superfast spreading rate which will be performed at about 900 km west of Costa Rica.  The ship is part of the International Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), an international research program dedicated to advancing scientific understanding of the Earth through drilling, coring, and monitoring the subseafloor.  The crew is international with members from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

CRISP Expedition

The JOIDES Resolution website describes their important CRISP expedition and its relevance to Costa Rica here:

The CRISP Expedition science team is working to better understand the processes that trigger large earthquakes at subduction zones (where one tectonic plate slides under another) by examining the geologic history of the oceanic Cocos tectonic plate and volcanic ridge, which together push under the Caribbean plate in an area just off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. This subduction system is representative of 50% of global subduction zones, making scientific insights gleaned here relevant to Costa Ricans and others living in earthquake-prone regions all around the Pacific Ocean – where more than 80% of earthquakes above 8.0 magnitude occur.


The yellow dot indicates a previously drilled well (#1256) that bores down to 15 million year strata that will be redrilled for further core sampling and logging.  The website elaborates more on this well:

Hole 1256D presently penetrates about 1500 meters below the seafloor, and reaches the base of the upper, volcanic crust. This expedition will continue the mission to understand the formation of oceanic crust, by deepening Hole 1256D several hundred meters, and studying the magmatic rocks of the lower crust, which scientists expect to access for the first time in their original position.


The ship can drill in waters as deep as 8,200 meters or 5 miles and to keep its position in the same place an interesting feature of the ship is its dynamic positioning system which utilizes 2 GPS systems, gyroscopes and a sonar system using a seabed acoustic beacon in conjunction with multiple ship hull receivers to accurately determine the ship’s position by minute timing difference.  To maintain its position, 2 propellors and 12 thrusters are employed all controlled by computer.

Dynamic Positioning Control room of the JOIDES Resolution

The ship has a crew of 120, works 24/7 and in two 12 hour shifts.  In case you were curious about the ship’s name JOIDES – it’s an acronym for Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling.  Look for the ship while you are out sport fishing.

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Costa Rica comes third in the Travel Competitiveness Report

April 7th, 2010

Canada, USA and Costa Rica have the most attractive environments for developing the travel and tourism industry in the continent, according to the third annual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, published by the World Economic Forum.

The first place was given to Canada for its great variety of landscapes and it airport infrastructure.
The second place in America was given to USA for its human, natural and cultural resources.
Costa Rica got the third place based on natural resources.
Brazil came in fourth and Mexico fifth.

Below is a description of the Report

Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009

The rankings are based on the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), which measures the different regulatory and business-related issues that have been identified as levers for improving travel and tourism competitiveness in countries around the world.

This year’s report, published under the theme “Managing in a Time of Turbulence”, reflects the difficulties the industry currently faces, which must be overcome to ensure strong sectorial growth in the future.

This is particularly captured by the topics covered in the analytical chapters, exploring issues such as the impact of oil prices on the tourism industry, the importance of price competitiveness for attracting tourists and the extent to which the Index explains differences in travel intensity between countries.

The Index was developed in close collaboration with the Forum’s Strategic Design Partner Booz & Company and its Data Partners Deloitte, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

For additional information or to see the world ranking please visit:


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Costa Rica tops list of ‘happiest’ nations – CNN.com

March 16th, 2010

CNN) — Forget Disneyland! Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world, according to an independent research group in Britain with the goal of building a new economy, “centered on people and the environment.”

Costa Rica is known for its lush rain forests and pristine  beaches.

Costa Rica is known for its lush rain forests and pristine beaches.

In a report released Saturday, the group ranks nations using the “Happy Planet Index,” which seeks countries with the most content people.

In addition to happiness, the index by the New Economics Foundation considers the ecological footprint and life expectancy of countries.

“Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world (second to Canada),” the organization said in a statement.

They “also have an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achieve the goal of … consuming its fair share of the Earth’s natural resources.”

The Central American country, tucked between Nicaragua and Panama, touts its lush rain forests and pristine beaches. Its president, Oscar Arias Sanchez, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for trying to help end civil wars in several Central American countries.

This year’s survey, which looked at 143 countries, featured Latin American nations in nine of the Top 10 spots.

The runner-up was the Dominican Republic, followed by Jamaica, Guatemala and Vietnam.

Most developed nations lagged in the study.

While Britain ranked 74th, the United States snagged the 114th spot, because of its hefty consumption and massive ecological footprint.

The United States was greener and happier 20 years ago than it is today, the report said.

Other populous nations, such as China and India, had a lower index brought on by their vigorous pursuit of growth-based models, the survey suggested.

“As the world faces the triple crunch of deep financial crisis, accelerating climate change and the looming peak in oil production, we desperately need a new compass to guide us,” said Nic Marks, founder of the foundation’s center for well-being.

Marks urged nations to make a collective global change before “our high-consuming lifestyles plunge us into the chaos of irreversible climate change.”

The report, which was first conducted in 2006, covers 99 percent of the world population, the statement said.

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