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Forcing of Carbonate Mounds and Deep Water Coral Reefs along the NW European Continental Margin

More:  Institutes 
Acronym: MoundForce
Period: 2004 till 2007
Status: Completed

Institutes (3)  Top 
  • Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee (NIOZ), more, co-ordinator
  • Universiteit Gent; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Vakgroep Geologie; Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG), more, partner
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Departement Aard- en Omgevingswetenschappen; Afdeling fysico-chemische geologie, more, partner

Abstract:
Recent discoveries of carbonate mounds covered with cold water corals and related benthic communities along the NE Atlantic Ocean continental margin (Porcupine Bight and north of Porcupine Bank, southeast and southwest Rockall Trough Margin, Norwegian margin) and of actively venting mud volcanic areas along the continental margin surrounding the Gulf of Cadiz associated with authigenic carbonate crust formation and deep-water reef-like coral build-ups and carbonate chimneys margin, Galicia Bank as well as new discoveries of fossil and recent reef structures in the Mediterranean ), raises the question of their origin and development. A major objective of the proposed studies therefore is to establish the forcing conditions of carbonate mound formation and to test the hypothesis of a possible linkage between (hydrocarbon related) cold seeps and the development of carbonate mounds, cold water benthic communities and authigenic carbonate formation. This proposal is further directed towards a definition of the geological, geochemical and oceanographical conditions and processes forcing the development of carbonate mounds and establishing the benthic ecology and environmental conditions of carbonate mound andcold water coral reef formation in contrasting areas of the NE Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. A third objective is to establish the factors governing lithification and stabilisation of carbonate mounds, and to use these as modern analogues of fossil carbonate build ups. Comparison between recent and past mound forcing conditions will allow development of a model of mound genesis in relation to tectonic, sedimentological, oceanographical and biological extant conditions.

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