The experiment, using the Japanese government's 57,500-tonne, 60-billion-yen (550-million-dollar) deep-sea drilling vessel Chikyu, is probing a trench in waters off the Pacific coast of Japan where two tectonic plates meet.
A team of 16 scientists from six countries have been seeking clues about how seismic activity can shake the planet's foundations.
The satellite-equipped vessel has a 121-metre (400-foot) drill tower that can dig 7,000 metres (23,000 feet) below the seabed.
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The first two-month expedition was completed in mid-November, the project's chief scientists said.
It was "a very big success in the form of scientific data we've obtained to know more" about the earthquake zone, said Harold Tobin, co-chief scientist from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the United S