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Mound-4D: een ROV-ondersteunde studie naar de 4D architectuur van carbonate mounds

More:  Institutes 
Reference no: 71049
Period: January 2008

Institutes (2)  Top 
  • Universiteit Gent; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Vakgroep Geologie; Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG), more
  • Vlaamse overheid; Beleidsdomein Economie, Wetenschap en Innovatie; Agentschap voor Innovatie door Wetenschap en Technologie (IWT), more, sponsor

The discovery of large deep water carbonate mound provinces along the European continental margin belongs to one of the most spectacular discoveries of the past decade. Since then, these up to 350 m high hills became a hot topic within deep-water research. At present, more than one thousand mounds have been already identified within different mound provinces along the European and Moroccan continental margins. During IODP Expedition Leg 307 ‘Modern Carbonate Mounds: Porcupine Drilling’ they drilled for the first time through a carbonate mound (below the mound base) to get a better view of the internal structure and mound build-up. Today, with a new technology, we are able to take a step forward and try to discover the 4D architecture of carbonate mounds with a thorough ROV supported study of the top layers (uppermost dm to m).
The aim of my research can be subdivided in two main parts: a scientific and a technological-methodological aspect.
The scientific part of the research deals with a detailed study of the 4D architecture of carbonate mounds. The main topic will be the cold-water coral mounds in the El Arraiche mud volcano field in the Gulf of Cadiz. Besides that we will also have a look at the cold-water corals in the Gulf of Biscay and Galicia Bank. The observations on present mounds will be compared with the IODP core analyses in Porcupine Seabight. Within this scientific part there are two main targets: (1) the study of the characteristics of individual coral plates and (2) the 4D study of carbonate mounds. First we will try to unravel the spatial (3D) characteristics of individual coral plates by the analyses of ROV images (2D) and ROV cores, boxcores and gravity cores (3D). We will also have a look at the present colonization of these coral plates based on the video images. In a second step we will investigate the sedimentological and (micro)biological processes within these coral plates. I will focus my research mostly on the sedimentological part with the core analyses. In this way we will investigate the hypothesis of ‘sediment baffling’ instead of ‘sediment trapping’ and the role of bio erosion in coral plates. The (micro)biological aspect will be investigated by project partners in the ESF MiCROSYSTEMS project. To finally end up with a 4D model of carbonate mounds we must have a look at the organization and migrations of coral plates in space and geological time. All these results will be compared with the results of IODP Expedition 307. At last a model will be proposed for the 4D architecture of a cold-water coral mound based on own results and other mound studies (EC FP6 HERMES, ESF MiCROSYSTEMS and EC FP7 HERMIONE (submitted)). This will hopefully take us a step forward in the study of the genesis and build-up of carbonate mounds.
Parallel with the scientific part we will try to work out a methodology and strategy to study very accurate and efficient, as far as possible, the 3D architecture of coral plates. We will start from a global image (multibeam) and go further into more detail (seismics and side-scan sonar) to finally finish with specific selected groundtruthing (ROV and coring). Besides that purposive methods will be developed to process, interpret and analyze the obtained data. Special attention will be paid to the integration and the mutual validation of the acoustic and optic images.

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