Drilling can help researchers to garner a better understanding of earthquakes. The way to do this is to drill at least 5km below the sea floor. Rock samples can be gathered and tested, which can provide answers to a whole host of unknowns. This work can lead to important breakthroughs that enable scientists to better understand the earthquake mechanism, and enables a better forecasting seismic hazards across the globe. Masa Kinoshita is part of a highly collaborative team ‘NanTroSEIZE’ under the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), comprising more than 200 researchers from different countries. He is working on a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science-funded project entitled ‘Urgency Evaluation of the Nankai Great Earthquake and Tsunami by Scientific Ocean Drilling’ (lead by Gaku Kimura) that is seeking to estimate the earthquake likelihood of a severe Nankai Trough earthquake. Experts predict that there is a 70 to 80 per cent possibility that a so-called ‘Nankai Trough megaquake’ with a magnitude of 8 to 9 will occur in the next 30 years. The goal of the project is to establish better understanding of the state and properties of the Nankai seismogenic zone, and better assess the urgency of the predicted megaquake.